A heartbreaking exchange between one of the victims of the Orlando massacre and his mother has surfaced, capturing the abject horror and confusion of the night.
Eddie Justice, 30, was enjoying himself with around 300 others at Pulse nightclub in downtown Orlando, Florida, when the club was attacked by homophobic extremist Omar Mateen.
Eddie managed to escape the initial carnage by hiding in a bathroom, before sending a message to his mother, Mina Justice, Associated Press reports.
"Mommy I love you. In club they shooting."
Ms Justice tried to call him, but there was no answer. Shortly after, he sent another text, stating he was trapped in the bathroom. The next message urged his mother to call the police, which she did immediately.
A few moments later, Eddie sent another text, ominous and short: "I'm gonna die."
After speaking to emergency services, Ms Justice sent a flurry of texts wanting to know if her son was safe, and asking him to answer his phone. She was left in impotent panic until she received the next text: "He's coming. I'm gonna die." Ms Justice asked if there was anyone hurt. Eddie told her lots of people were hurt, and asked that she hurry.
At 2.50am, he texted "He's a terror.", the first indication as to what was actually happening. Ms Justice asked if the man was in the bathroom with Eddie. His final reply: "Yes."
No one can know what horrors must have passed through her head, but Ms Justice was resolute as she rushed from her house to a hotel where by now, other friends and family of those in the club were gathering and waiting for information. The fact that Mateen had called police midway through the massacre to pledge allegiance to ISIS was not yet common knowledge. For now, Ms Justice had to wait, confused and scared, wanting to know where her son was, and whether he was even alive.
In the early hours of Monday morning (June 13), Eddie was confirmed dead.
Ms Justice described Eddie as a "homebody" who liked to make everyone laugh. He was an accountant who lived in a downtown Orlando condo, and had a good relationship with his mother, who accepted his sexuality.
Devastatingly, for Eddie and 49 others, his pleas for help were in vain. His life was ended in what is now known to be the worst mass shooting in American history, and a direct attack on LGBT people, equality and freedom - leaving Mina Justice and millions around the world asking: Why?
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