Sunday 23 October 2016

'He's coming. I'm gonna die. Mommy I love you' - Orlando victim's tragic last text to his mother

Published 13/06/2016 | 08:40

Mina Justice shows a text message she received from her son Eddie Justice at Pulse nightclub during a fatal shooting in Orlando, (Courtesy of Mina Justice via AP)
Mina Justice shows a text message she received from her son Eddie Justice at Pulse nightclub during a fatal shooting in Orlando, (Courtesy of Mina Justice via AP)
Investigators from the office of the medical examiner inspect the bullet- and blast-damaged side of Pulse nightclub, where Omar Mateen slaughtered 50 people yesterday. Photo: Press Association
Mina Justice speaks to a reporter discussing texting with her son who was in a bathroom at Club Pulse, Sunday June, 12, 2016, in Orlando. (AP Photo/Tamara Lush)

Mina Justice was sound asleep when she received the first text from her son, Eddie Justice, who was in the gay nightclub when a gunman opened fire and slaughtered 50 and wounded more than 50 others. Here is the conversation she had over text message with her 30-year-old son.

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"Mommy I love you," the first message said. It was 2:06 a.m.

"In club they shooting."

Mina Justice tried calling her 30-year-old son. No answer.

Alarmed and half awake, she tapped out a response.

"U ok"

At 2:07 a.m., he wrote: "Trapp in bathroom."

Justice asked what club, and he responded: "Pulse. Downtown. Call police."

Then at 2:08: "I'm gonna die."

Now wide awake, Justice dialed 911.

She sent a flurry of texts over the next several minutes.

"I'm calling them now.

U still in there

Answer our damn phone

Call them

Call me."

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The 911 dispatcher wanted her to stay on the line. She wondered what kind of danger her son was in. He was normally a homebody who liked to eat and work out. He liked to make everyone laugh. He worked as an accountant and lived in a condo in downtown Orlando.

"Lives in a sky house, like the Jeffersons," she would say. "He lives rich."

She knew he was gay and at a club - and all the complications that might entail. Fear surged through her as she waited for his next message.

At 2:39 a.m., he responded: "Call them mommy Now."

He wrote that he was in the bathroom.

"He's coming

I'm gonna die."

Justice asked her son if anyone was hurt and which bathroom he was in.

"Lots. Yes," he responded at 2:42 a.m.

When he didn't text back, she sent several more messages. Was he with police?

"Text me please," she wrote.

"No," he wrote four minutes later. "Still here in bathroom. He has us. They need to come get us."

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At 2:49 a.m., she told him the police were there and to let her know when he saw them.

"Hurry," he wrote. "He's in the bathroom with us."

She asked, "Is the man in the bathroom wit u?"

At 2:50 a.m.: "He's a terror."

Then, a final text from her son a minute later: "Yes."

More than 15 hours after that text, Justice still hasn't heard from her son. She and a dozen family and friends are at a hotel that has become a staging area for relatives awaiting news. Any news.

"His name has not come up yet and that's scary. It's just ..." she paused and patted hear heart. "It's just, I got this feeling. I got a bad feeling."

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