'It was a miracle,' parents of Pulse nightclub massacre survivor say

'I saw him on TV and felt a relief,' his mom says. 'He was alive.'

ORLANDO, Fla. – Grisselle and Norman Casiano gave their  eldest son a ride to Pulse nightclub.

The parents said they never would have imagined that they were taking him to what later would become the site of the deadliest massacre in U.S. history.

When the gunman started shooting, Norman Casiano, Jr., said he crawled "military style" to the bathroom where he and others tried to hide. But the gunman found them.

"He called me from the bathroom to tell me that he was going to die," his mom said.

Norman Casiano, Jr. made it out alive. He was the only one among those who sought refuge in the bathroom who survived. After getting treated at Orlando Regional Medical Center, doctors released him Monday.

He was in a wheel chair, holding balloons and a teddy bear, when he told his mom he was afraid to leave the hospital.

"Some noises make him nervous," Grisselle Casinao said.

Norman Casiano, Jr. said he can still hear the gunshots. There were bodies blocking the bathroom stall door, so he stepped on the sink and climbed out. He suffered four gunshot wounds -- two on each side of his body. The bullets went right through.

As he tried to leave the club, he said law enforcement officers shot at him, but missed. He said he started shouting in terror until they finally realized he was a victim. When he walked out, a cameraman captured the moment a police officer and a woman helped him get to safety.

"I saw him on TV and felt a relief," his mom said. "He was alive."

His father said the anguish he felt when he learned that his son had been shot is unlike anything he has ever experienced. The gunman sprayed bullets indiscriminately but none of them hit any of his son's vital organs.

"I still can't believe that all of this happened and that he is here with us," Norman Casiano  said. "We are thankful. You just can't believe it."

Pastor Deyni Ventura, a family friend, said she believed that Norman Casiano, Jr.  survival story was a "miracle" and she knew this, because Norman Casiano said he felt "like something was protecting him."

Norman Casiano, Jr. mom agreed.

"It was a miracle he made it out of there with his life," she said. 

About the Authors: