UPDATE: At 1:18 a.m. Monday, Orlando police confirmed that Eddie Jamoldroy Justice was killed in the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooting.
ORLANDO – "Mommy I love you."
It was 2:06 a.m. Sunday when Mina Justice received that text from her son, who was in a gay nightclub in Orlando when a gunman opened fire in what turned out to be the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
Then came another: “In club they shooting.’’
The gut-wrenching text conversation might have been the last conversation Justice had with her 30-year-old son, Eddie.
“My son, my son,’’ Justice sobbed as she sat outside Orlando Regional Medical Center, where she’d gone with relatives to find Eddie.
He wasn’t there. And as of 9 p.m. Sunday, a relative said the family was growing frustrated because they still don’t know his whereabouts and are not being told anything by the police.
“She hasn’t heard anything. She’s upset. He was texting her from inside the club,’’ Jeff Robinson, Eddie’s cousin, told The Palm Beach Post as he sat with Mina on a bench outside the hospital.
Robinson described Eddie as “a great dude. He’d give you the shirt off his back. He always brought the life to the party.’’
But Robinson said he was sickened to think what went through his aunt Mina’s mind as Eddie texted her — as the gunman, feet from him, sprayed bullets through the night club.
“He told her he was being held hostage in the bathroom. He said he was afraid to die,’’ Robinson said,
Justice was too distraught at the time to talk to a Post reporter. But Robinson described the text conversation and the Associated Press later got a copy of it.
After the initial texts from Eddie, Mina Justice tried calling her son. No answer.
She tapped out a response. “U ok”
At 2:07 a.m., he wrote: “Trapp in bathroom.”
After Justice asked what club, he responded: “Pulse. Downtown. Call police.”
Then at 2:08: “I’m gonna die.”
She called 911 and sent a flurry of texts over the next several minutes, according to the Associated Press.
“I’m calling them now.
U still in there
Answer our damn phone
Fear surged through her as she waited for his next message.
At 2:39 a.m., he responded:
“Call them mommy
Robinson said Eddie texted his mom 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?
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.”
More than 15 hours after that text, Justice told an AP reporter she was fearing for the worst.
“His name has not come up yet and that’s scary. It’s just …” she paused and patted hear heart. “It’s just, I got this feeling. I got a bad feeling.”
Cox Media Group