As the news surrounding the horrific Pulse nightclub shooting develops, stories about the heroes involved are beginning to come out, one of whom is 26-year-old Joshua McGill.
McGill is an employee at Southern Nights Orlando, another popular LGBT bar in the area. He is also a nursing student at Valencia College. Saturday was his night off, so he and his roommates went to Pulse to relax and have a good time. Instead, they found themselves caught up in the deadliest shooting in the history of the United States.
Here’s everything you need to know about Joshua McGill, his harrowing experience, and why he is being hailed as a hero:
1. He Heard Three Loud Bangs But Didn’t Realize They Were Gunshots
McGill tells CBS News that his horrific night began when he and his roommates were getting their last drinks at Pulse’s bar. They suddenly heard three loud bangs, but he did not see any shooter and at first he thought it might be something to do with the club’s sound system.
He fled to the outside area of the club and at this point still did not realize exactly what was happening. McGill says he thought someone might be playing a joke or that a firework had been set off. Then he heard more gunshots and saw staff members running, at which point it became clear that the situation was quite serious.
2. He Hid Under a Car for Safety
McGill says that once he realized he was in the midst of a shooting, he and his roommates jumped the fence and ran out into the parking lot.
Then, because McGill did not know whether the gunman was outside, he says he hid under an SUV in the lot for protection, hoping to wait things out. Soon, the shots seemed to be getting further away, so he planned to run towards a protected area and seek police assistance.
At this point, he heard a man mumbling.
3. He Came Across a Stranger and Saved His Life
McGill says that while under the vehicle, he heard a man panting and could see that he was covered in blood. The man, Rodney, was repeatedly saying, “I think I got shot,” and McGill could see the man had two gunshot wounds in each arm.
McGill proceeded to take off his shirt and tie it around the wounds, telling Rodney that everything was going to be okay. Then McGill realized Rodney had been shot in the back as well, so he applied pressure to the man’s back, he told CBS.
After the wounds had been attended to, McGill carefully guided Rodney through the parking lot to safety, bringing him to an officer. McGill joined the officer in transporting Rodney to the Emergency Room, with McGill applying pressure to the man’s back the entire ride.
As this was happening, McGill’s roommates were able to get home safely.
4. His Facebook Update Has Gone Viral
Shortly after the shooting, Joshua McGill took to Facebook to recount his experience and let friends and family know he is okay.
At one point in the post, he discussed the idea of trying to promise this complete stranger that he would be okay while not being sure if Rodney would actually pull through.
After the post gained popularity, one of Rodney’s friends reached out to Joshua to let him know that Rodney is currently stable at the hospital.
5. He Is Being Hailed as a Hero
McGill’s Facebook post has been shared nearly 1,000 times and has almost 2,000 comments, the majority of which are coming from complete strangers praising Joshua for his act of heroism.
The same is the case on Twitter, where users who were deeply affected by Josh’s story are voicing their appreciation for him and his actions.
McGill says he believes God put him in the club and had him stay behind for a reason. Luckily for Rodney, McGill happened to be nursing student with CPR training, which McGill points to as being a reason this was meant to be.