Imran Yousuf, a former US Marine sergeant of Indian origin, has been hailed as a hero for saving scores of lives at a Florida night club when Omar Mateen went on a rampage, killing 49 people. When Yousuf, who was working as a bouncer at the Pulse night club catering to the gay community in Orlando, USA, heard the first gunshots, his military experience fighting in Afghanistan kicked in, stated The Quint. As everyone in the packed nightclub froze in fear, he jumped up and at personal risk, opened a back door, allowing many people to escape.
He told CBS News television that, as panicked people streamed to the back of the hall, he was “screaming ‘Open the door! Open the door!’ And no one is moving because they are scared.” Yousuf – whose mother and grandmother are Hindus – risked his life because he could have drawn the attention of Omar Mateen was carrying out the attack, considered the worst mass shooting in US history.
The network reported that he cried as he said, “I wish I could have saved more to be honest. There are a lot of people that are dead.” But Yousuf has been modest, brushing off the adulation he’s received. The Marine Corps Times reported on its website a post from Yousuf’s Facebook page:
“There are a lot of people naming me a hero and as a former Marine and Afghan veteran I honestly believe I reacted by instinct. … While it might seem that my actions are heroic I decided that the others around me needed to be saved as well and so I just reacted.” The newspaper said that he had left the Marine Corps just last month.
The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, New York, reported that he grew up in the nearby town of Niskayuna and joined the Marine Corps soon after he finished high school at the age of 17 and served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Marine Corps Times said he had been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal during his service.