Eddie Justice and his mother Mina Justice exchanged a flurry of texts over the space of an hour as the attack took place, before his phone went silent
The first text came just after 2am while Mina Justice was sleeping, and read simply: “Mommy, I love you.”
Her son, 30-year-old Eddie Justice, was inside the Pulse gay club on Saturday night when Omar Mateen opened fire on the busy dancefloor, killing indiscriminately.
Mr Justice fled to hide in the women’s bathroom, and over the next 40 or so minutes was able to exchange a final series of messages with his mother before he was found by the killer.
It has now been confirmed that Eddie Justice was among the 50 people killed in the massacre, the worst mass shooting in modern US history.
Ms Justice spoke to reporters about her last exhange with her son on Sunday, around 15 hours after Swat teams had killed Mateen in a gunfight, when Eddie’s fate remained unclear.
“His name has not come up yet and that’s scary,” she said. “It’s just … It’s just, I got this feeling. I got a bad feeling.”
Here is the conversation the pair had before Eddie stopped replying:
“Mommy I love you,” the first message said. It was 2:06 a.m.
“In club they shooting.”
Mina Justice tried calling her 30-year-old son. No answer.
Alarmed and half awake, she tapped out a response.
At 2:07 a.m., he wrote: “Trapp in bathroom.”
Justice asked what club, and he responded: “Pulse. Downtown. Call police.”
Then at 2:08: “I’m gonna die.”
Now wide awake, Justice dialed 911.
She sent a flurry of texts over the next several minutes.
“I’m calling them now.
U still in there
Answer our damn phone
The 911 dispatcher wanted her to stay on the line. She wondered what kind of danger her son was in. He was normally a homebody who liked to eat and work out. He liked to make everyone laugh. He worked as an accountant and lived in a condo in downtown Orlando.
“Lives in a sky house, like the Jeffersons,” she would say. “He lives rich.”
She knew he was gay and at a club — and all the complications that might entail. Fear surged through her as she waited for his next message.
At 2:39 a.m., he responded:
“Call them mommy
He wrote that he was in the bathroom.
I’m gonna die.”
Justice asked her son if anyone was hurt and which bathroom he was in.
“Lots. Yes,” he responded at 2:42 a.m.
When he didn’t text back, she sent several more messages. Was he with police?
“Text me please,” she wrote.
“No,” he wrote four minutes later. “Still here in bathroom. He has us. They need to come get us.”
At 2:49 a.m., she told him the police were there and to let her know when he saw them.
“Hurry,” he wrote. “He’s in the bathroom with us.”
She asked, “Is the man in the bathroom wit u?”
At 2:50 a.m.: “He’s a terror.”
Then, a final text from her son a minute later: “Yes.”