Brentwood Native Recalls Orlando Pulse Shooting

Posted at 8:00 PM, Jun 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-15 21:39:29-04

Orlando paramedic and Brentwood native, Curtis Barresi, recalled hearing the news of the terror attack in which he lost his friend and neighbor.

"I actually got home from work at about midnight that night," he said. 

Barresi awoke to the news of what happened at Pulse nightclub, a venue he's visited often. It wasn't long until he realized his friend and neighbor, Drew Leinonen and his partner Juan Geurrero were missing.

"It was very surreal to walk out there [parking lot] and when I didn't see his car I was like, seriously, is this really happening," Barresi recalled. "I knew at that point that he was either seriously hurt or possibly dead at that point, based on what people were posting on Facebook."

The two perished inside the club. For Barresi's fellow first responders, the scene they walked into can only be described in one way.

"The paramedics that I've talked to said it was horrific. As a paramedic we get on scene and we want to stabilize patients, we want to back board them, start an IV, stabilize them, secure their airways before we transport them. In this situation they were putting multiple people just in the back of an ambulance, un immobilized, just literally putting them in there," Barresi said. 

The hospital was only a few blocks away, Barresi believes the short distance likely saved lives. However, 49 lives were lost.

"Some of the police officers are beating themselves up if you will, feeling like they should've gotten in there quicker," Barresi said. 

In the days, weeks and months to come there will be lots of reflection. Barresi hopes it can lead to change. "I am a gun owner and I also have a concealed firearms license in the state of Florida but I personally don't think the general public should have access to weapons, assault weapons of that capacity," Barresi said.