In June of 2015, Pulse nightclub was shot up by an armed assailant, Omar Mateen. The massacre at the Florida nightclub left 49 people dead and over 50 people wounded.
The shooting was considered the deadliest mass shooing in United States history, at the time.
Mateen & The Nightclub
Mateen was from Queens, New York, and was born to Afghan parents. The FBI began looking into Mateen in 2013 after telling coworkers that he had ties to al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.
The investigation did not go anywhere. He was questioned in 2014 when one of his known associates was a suicide bomber for Nusrah Front, a terror group in Syria. After he disclosed he was watching jihadist videos to a friend, his friend alerted authorities.
The secondary investigation was also closed. Mateen was a security guard, so he had an active Florida firearms license. Each time he was investigated, he was placed on the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database list.
However, once the investigations were closed, he was removed, allowing him to buy a Sig Sauer MCX semiautomatic assault rifle and a Glock 17 9mm semiautomatic pistol. He used both of these weapons in the shooting.
Mateen opened fire after 2 a.m. with over 300 people in the popular club. Adam Gruler, the guard at Pulse, who was also an off-duty Orlando police officer, tried to hold him off but called for back-up, prompting a massive police response.
Amanda Grau had just walked into the club about five minutes prior when she thought she heard fireworks. Grau said, “I turned around, and that’s when I saw him with a gun.”
Over the course of the next three hours she was shot four times. Finally she crawled to safety right as help came.
First responders took great care of her. She went to the hospital and underwent multiple surgeries. She also had to re-learn how to walk.
Everything that happened to her that day changed her direction in life. She was incredibly grateful to those who helped her that day.
“What better way to pay it forward than to become an EMT myself? I was given a second chance, and I’m not gonna waste it. I just wanna spread love and do good in the world and just help anybody that I can.”Amanda Grau
Grau is working toward becoming a paramedic. She says, “Don’t live in fear. Live for today because tomorrow’s not promised, that’s for sure.”