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Pulse, One Year Later: Two Survivors – Now And Then, And Across Cultures

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Amanda Grau spent three hours trapped inside the bathroom with Omar Mateen before she came to Orlando Regional Medical Center. (Photo by Abe Aboraya, WMFE)

Amanda Grau was one of many survivors who hid in a bathroom as the initial gunfire erupted, then was trapped during the three hours that gunman Omar Mateen terrorized people inside the club. She was shot multiple times. Over the past year, she’s worked to recover from her injuries, even heading back to her job as a certified nursing assistant in late February.

Also hiding the Pulse bathroom that night was Orlando Torres.

When the gunman came in, Orlando curled up on his side on top of a toilet to try to keep his feet from showing under the stall. But in the chaos, someone who’d been shot tried to push into the stall as well, and Orlando fell to the floor. He remembers feeling the shooter touch his back with the tip of a gun not knowing if he would live or die.

“I lost many friends, I’ve lost close to 15 friends that tragic evening, and even lost friends who I didn’t know were in the next bathroom stall that I was in in the restroom.”

Torres told his story as part of our podcast series “Orlando – Un Ano Despues.”

The music featured in the special program “Pulse: One Year Later” was composed in response to the tragic shooting, by artists with ties to Orlando.

“Somos Uno” by Elsten Torres (courtesy of Margaret Nolan, Paul & Leesa Castaneda, & the After Orlando Theatre Action)


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Nicole Darden Creston

About Nicole Darden Creston

All Things Considered Host and Reporter

Nicole came to Central Florida to attend Rollins College and started working for Orlando’s ABC News Radio affiliate shortly after graduation. She joined WMFE in 2010. As a field reporter, news anchor and radio show host in the City Beautiful, she has covered everything from local arts to national elections, from ... Read Full Bio »