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Pulse Orlando shooting survivors tell their stories of self recovery

MTV’s “True Life” reality show will feature the survivors of the Pulse Orlando nightclub shooting – what has now come to be called by the New York Times as the ‘Deadliest Mass Shooting In U.S. History’ with 49 people dead and at least 53 injured.

The documentary follows four survivors Tony Marrero, Patience Carter and Tiara Parker, and Joshua McGill on their emotional journey to recovery as they come to terms with the events that unfolded around 2 a.m. June 12.

For Marrero, finding peace with the death of his friend Luis Vielma seems to be one of the hardest obstacles he has to face. In a teaser video on MTV.com, Marrero visits the Pulse memorial to pay respects for those that died in the tragedy.

“I really want to go to the memorial. I need to see it. I need to be there. I need to pay my respects for everybody that did not make it, and most importantly I need to see Luis’ cross,” Marrero said.

While kneeling in front of Vielma’s memorial, Marrero can be heard saying, “Not a day is gonna go by without me thinking about you… I’m gonna miss you, bro.”

Carter and Parker were visiting Orlando from Philadelphia at the time of the shooting, along with Parker’s cousin, Akyra Murray, 18. Murray was the youngest victim to die at Pulse. All three woman were trapped in a bathroom by shooter Omar Mateen before a SWAT team breached the walls, killing Mateen and rescuing those held hostage.

Parker remembered Murray being unconscious but still alive when they were separated.

“And she was going to get out of there. I knew for a fact she was gonna be fine,” Parker said in a trailer of the show, speaking to another survivor through video call. “When you (male survivor) told me that she was still breathing, I just gave it to God, hoping that they were going to pick her up and take her out with me as I was going out of the wall.”

Tiara Parker

Photo courtesy of MTV

McGill fled from the chaos of the shooting and ended up saving another victim’s life. Rodney Sumter was shot multiple times, including in both arms. McGill made a tourniquet out of his shirt, which ultimately saved the life of Sumter, a bartender and father of two children.

McGill was directed by a police officer to lie on top of Sumter on the way to the hospital in order to restrict blood flow from the third wound.

McGill plans to visit Sumter after putting off the encounter for so long.

“I’m just kind of afraid of how it’s going to be, like if I’m going to be overly emotional or if I’m going to have flashbacks from when I saw him initially that one night covered in blood. I hope it brings out the peace that I kind of need to finally see that he’s okay,” McGill said.

MTV True Life: Pulse Orlando shooting

Photo courtesy of MTV

A tremendous amount of support from the local community, as well on a national level, has been shown for those suffering loss or hardship after the Pulse shooting. After anti-LGBT legislation in Indiana and North Carolina, Apple has announced their Fall 2016 iOS 10 release of the rainbow flag as a way to celebrate the diversity of the LGBT community.

Officials on Apple’s website said that the company is working, “closely with the Unicode Consortium to ensure that popular emoji characters reflect the diversity of people everywhere,” according to Huffington Post.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who came out as gay in 2014 through a Bloomberg Businessweek essay, stated, “For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay… While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”

Watch the “True Life” episode here.

About The Author

Allie Taylor

Allie Taylor is a rising senior in the journalism program, and has dedicated most of her life to writing (whether scooping stories on campus, or practicing her creative fiction). She can recite the entirety of Bo Burnham’s “What?” and loves marathons… of Netflix, of course. When Taylor is not in the newsroom, you can find her rehearsing with the cast and crew of S(He) Will Fade, drinking her weight in coffee at Starbucks or burrito-ing herself in a blanket in her dorm room.

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