Metro Weekly

Former marine honored by LGBT military group for Pulse heroism

Imran Yousuf will be honored for helping save dozens of lives at Pulse nightclub

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Imran Yousuf, a Marine Corps veteran who saved dozens of people during the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub, will be honored by the American Military Partner Association.

When Omar Mateen first entered Pulse nightclub on June 12 and started shooting at the hundreds of people inside, Yousuf helped a crowd of patrons break out of a back door, letting them escape the terror that would leave 49 dead and more than 50 injured.

“Everyone froze. I’m here in the back and I saw people start pouring into the back hallway, and they just sardine pack everyone,” Yousuf told CBS News. “And I’m screaming ‘Open the door! Open the door!’ And no one is moving because they are scared.

“There was only one choice,” he continued. “Either we all stay there and we all die, or I could take the chance, and I jumped over to open that latch a we got everyone that we can out of there.”

His actions lead to “over 60, 70” people escaping Pulse.

AMPA, the nation’s largest advocate group for LGBT military families, will honor Yousuf with its 2016 Community Hero Award at its Sept. 17 West Coast Gala. Yousuf served as an engineer in the Marines for six years, including deployment to Afghanistan in 2011.

“Imran represents the best of America and the best of America’s military community, as evidenced by his quick and heroic actions amid the chaos and carnage of the tragedy in Orlando,” AMPA president Ashley Broadway-Mack said in a statement. “While he humbly may not consider himself a hero, his courageous actions in the face of mortal danger that saved the lives of more than 70 of our LGBT brothers and sisters say otherwise.

“He is certainly a hero to our community and to all of America, and we are proud to honor Imran with our 2016 Community Hero Award at the inaugural AMPA West Coast Gala in San Diego.”

Tragedy in Orlando: A Special Report

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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