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Employee at Pulse nightclub leaves minutes before shooting

Posted at 11:26 PM, Jun 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-15 13:49:00-04

PLANTATION, Fla. -- A man who grew up in Fort Myers, left the nightclub minutes before the deadly shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. 

Justin Pham says he is so traumatized, he left town. 

Just ten months ago, Pham was living in Fort Myers where he was born and raised. He attended Lehigh Senior HIgh and completed the JOTC. Ten months later he moved to Orlando for a new life. 

Working part time as a dancer at Pulse Nightclub, Pham quickly made friends. 

"In life people come into your life for a reason and I believe they came into my life for that reason," Pham said. 

On Saturday Pham hung out with his two best friends, Juan Rivera and Luis Conde, a gay married couple. He took pictures with them moments before he left the club. 

"I gave them a hug and they told me to be safe and I told them to be safe as well and we'll take a picture together," Pham said.

That was 20 minutes before the shooting. 

Those trapped inside the club began texting friends, and calling for help while huddled together. 

Pham had the presence of mind to return to the club and work with police, drawing a sketch of the club's layout so they'd know where the exits were before going in to take down the man who killed so many. 

"It's not easy knowing these people and then knowing they are no longer with you," Pham said. 

By Monday morning Pham learned five of his friends were dead including Juan and Luis, the couple who considered Pham their son. 

Shortly after moving to Orlando to begin a new life, Pham is now forced to cope with so much death. 

"It's just time flies and you never know when it'll be the last time you see someone," Pham said.