Jeannette McCoy was getting a drink at the main bar. It was last call, just before 2 a.m.
Instantly, the former Bay Shore resident sensed something was not right.
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As law enforcement searches for answers in the aftermath of Sunday’s horrific shooting at a Florida nightclub — the largest mass shooting in U.S. history — stories from those inside the nightclub continue to evolve.
McCoy’s story — told to news outlets and through social media — is one of amazing good fortune and of sincere affection for one of her close friends, Angel Colon, who she says took bullets to his back and leg that were meant for her.
“I am alive today because of my angel, Angel Colon,” McCoy, 37, a professional trainer, model and body builder, posted on her Facebook page more than 12 hours after the shooting at the club, Pulse.
“He was right behind me as we tried to escape the inside of the horrific scene unfolding before our eyes. He was shot in his back and leg. If he wasn’t behind me that bullet would have been in my back.
“I love you. I am forever grateful for you.”
Colon appeared in a nationally television news conference Tuesday and shared his account. He was shot five times overall. He played dead, too, before he was dragged to safety by a police officer.
McCoy could not be reached Wednesday. But she says on Facebook that she’s from Bay Shore and went to Bay Shore High School. Back then, according to public records, she was Jeannette Feliciano; she moved away from Long Island in 2003.
Like Colon’s story, McCoy’s also is one of bodies falling and gunshots piercing the air. She shared it Wednesday with CNN and in a video posted at TheUncensoredReport.com’s Facebook page:
When she started running, she also looked behind her. She could see people falling to the ground. They were either taking bullets or trying to avoid getting shot, she said.
She and Colon were directly in the path of the gunfire, she said. “The shots came so fast. Bop, bop, bop, bop.”
The scene was chaotic, hectic, with no time to look for or worry about friends, she said.
She headed toward the patio. “That was my main thing, to get out of the building,” she said.
She said you could “feel” bullets whizzing, “feel the pressure of the gun.”
She fell to the floor, crawling. She was sure she would be shot, too. “There was just so much gunfire.”
But she made the patio, then crossed over a fallen fence. She was in front of the nightclub, safe but alone. Her friends were either inside or had escaped some other way.
She had gone to the club with several friends, to help her get over a bad breakup, she said in a Washington Post story. “I just wanted to smile,” she told the Post.
But here she was using her shirt as a tourniquet, trying to stop the bleeding from a woman’s arm, she told The Post.
Phones were ringing and text message notifications chimed with people trying to find friends or reassure loved ones that they were all right, McCoy told the Post.
As she relived the haunting experience, she recalls the gunman, Omar Mateen, as silent and methodical.
“He didn’t say anything,” she said to the Post. “He was just shooting . . . He came in with the intent of evil. It was him trying to kill every single person in that club.”
All of McCoy’s friends survived.
She posted on her Facebook page how it felt to clean blood from her clothing, wondering how she made it out alive while so many others were wounded or killed.
“You have somebody else’s blood on you and you just stare at the blood,” she told the Post.“You just stare at it. This is someone else’s blood. It’s not mine. Why isn’t it mine? How did I walk away alive?”