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Remembering Pulse: 6 years since deadly nightclub mass shooting

Pulse Orlando, Shooting
Posted at 2:08 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 16:57:27-04

Sunday, June 12, marked six years since the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida that left 49 people dead.

The youngest victim was just 18 years old. 

Natalie Murray says the morning of June 12, 2016, plays in her mind on repeat every single day. She says that the old cliche "time heals all wounds" is simply not true. 

"Every day I can remember, every step, every conversation, every move we made. I can remember it just like it was yesterday. It sits vividly in my mind … all day all the time," Murray said.

On June 12, Murray's daughter, Akyra, had called her saying she had been shot in the arm. Her daughter explained that numerous people had been shot inside Pulse. Akyra and her friend ran out when the shooting started just after 2 a.m. but when they went back inside to find Akyra's cousin, the girls became trapped inside a bathroom stall with the gunman. 

In the next stall over was Orlando Torres, who survived the shooting. 

"Within minutes he came in and we were hearing the big popping sounds in our restroom," Torres said. "He shot in the stall behind us. I was unaware of who was in the other stall, which was the handicapped stall. It was the bigger stall. I come to find out there were probably 12-14 people in there."  

Three hours later, at 5 a.m., the Orlando SWAT team used explosives and an armored vehicle to breach the exterior bathroom wall. SWAT shot and killed the gunman. Torres survived with minor injuries. 

"They used their SWAT vehicle to plow the bumpers into the walls and I'm hearing a lot of banging booming all of a sudden, shots started firing. It felt like a war zone," Torres said. 

Akyra was the youngest victim who died at the Pulse nightclub. Her cousin and friend survived. She was visiting from Philadelphia with her family.

Six years later, her mother has not touched her room. 

"Akyra's room is probably exactly how I left it. I never even unpacked her bag from six years ago. The Florida bag is still in her room in her closet," she said.

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