Witness to terror: Georgia man watches attack in Orlando unfold
DECATUR, Ga. - An Atlanta area man who was outside the Orlando nightclub during a deadly rampage said he will be forever haunted by what he saw that night.
Nic Hornstein returned to the metro area on Monday. He shared chilling images he shot from a nearby rooftop just a few hundred feet from the scene. He recorded the deadly shootout between police and gunman Omar Mateen on Sunday that brought the nightmare to an end.
Hornstein was in Orlando participating in a bike race over the weekend. He was staying with a friend whose apartment building sits across the street from the nightclub.
“It was just bang, bang, bang in rapid succession,” said Hornstein.
He was rocked from his slumber around 2 a.m. Sunday by what he now knows was deadly gunfire.
“I looked out the window; there was just bedlam out there, people running from the club, bloody, trying to help the injured get away. People running in all directions across the street, just put enough distance between them and the shooter,” said Hornstein.
Perched on the rooftop of the apartment building, Hornstein would watch the terrifying drama play out over the next three hours before police finally moved in, rescuing hostages and killing Mateen.
He tweeted out video and photographs he shot on his cellphone during the ordeal.
“People are asking was it scary being so close? What was going through your mind?” said Hornstein.
It would be another nine hours before police allowed the Decatur man and others to leave the apartment building.
“In time, it will definitely be something I will be able to accept, but at this point, it hits home because it can happen anywhere,” said Hornstein.
Hornstein's been retweeted hundreds of times and he has fielded inquiries from media here at home and abroad, all eager to talk to the man whose video has gone viral.
“I'm already still getting notifications from Twitter, people retweeting, commenting, liking, trying to reach out to me as well,” said Hornstein.