Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Myrlande Bebe

This post is about the shooting that took place at the Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016. It contains difficult content, so please do not read on if you feel you may be effected. 

This article and sketch have been posted with the express written permission of the interviewee. Analog Artist Digital World takes the privacy and wishes of individuals very seriously.

Myrlande Bebe is the mother of Jason Josaphat, one of the 49 people murdered at Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016. Chelsea, her daughter-in-law sat with her. Jason was born on August 8, 1995 and was 20 years old when he died.  Jason loved to draw. He wanted to do 3D animation and also studied photography in high school. He studied at Valencia Community College for 6 months and then went to Southern Technical School where he made the president's list and was on his way to becoming a CPA. He planned to travel the world and some day go to Haiti, which is where Myrlande was born.

"I never heard of Pulse until that night." Myrlande explained. On June 11, 2016 she was working a 12 hour shift. Jason is one of three brothers. They were known as the 3 Js: Jamal, Justin, and Jason. Their sister Miriam had just flown in from Arizona to visit. Her birthday was on June 13th, so they were making plans to celebrate. Myrlande called Miriam before she got home and found out that Jason had gone out. When Jamal arrived home she asked him where Jason was. He didn't know, so he called Jason and left a message. Exhausted from a long day of work, she went to bed, but she couldn't sleep.

In the middle of the night her phone started ringing. Miriam picked it up and heard Jason on the other side. She shouted, "Mom, Jason is in trouble! Call 911!" Myrlande took the phone, "Where are you?" she asked Jason. He was panicking. "There are a lot of dead people on the floor, call 911!" She started screaming and Jamal asked, "What is wrong? Mom calm down." On the phone Jason explained that he was at Pulse. "I'm in the bathroom, I'm trapped and I can't get out." The last thing he said was, "He's coming," and he got off the line.

Myrlande and Jamal immediately drove to Pulse Nightclub. The call had taken place around 3:25 am and the drive was around 15 minutes. They were outside Pulse from about 3:40 am to 6 am and felt that they had seen everything. They knew Jason was trapped in the bathroom and they both wanted to rush inside to get him. Police had secured the scene making that impossible. "It felt like I was in Iraq, it was terrible." she said. "My heart was aching." She saw a young man crying. He said, "I lost him." She asked him what happened. "Some crazy man just started shooting at us," he said. Anyone she met that night, she asked, "Did you see my son?" Everyone was crying. There was blood everywhere. "We saw ambulances taking people." She had never seen dead bodies before. They would pick them up by the two arms and two legs and haul them to a truck. It was a disaster, a nightmare.

At 6 AM police said, "If you don't see your family member here, go to Orlando Regional Medical Center, you can claim them there." Myrlande gave one of the nurses Jason's name and described a tattoo he had on his chest, which he had designed himself. She gave them a picture of her son. They couldn't find him. They asked for his medical and dental records as well. She couldn't believe what was happening. She and Jamal had to return home without knowing where Jason was.

That night she had a dream about Jason. She was in a market place with her daughter and niece. She looked up and saw her son. He had his favorite color on, which was green. She saw him far far away. She shouted his name and ran towards him. He passed behind a pole and disappeared. She woke up feeling anxious.

The next day she went to the Beardall Center. She sat patiently waiting to find out if her son was in a coma or if he was at the hospital somewhere. Someone asked to talk to her and they delivered the news. All the records she had given them matched. She found out her daughter's birthday that her son was dead. Her daughter said, "Mom, I will never again have another birthday." It was a nightmare for them all. It wasn't easy to find out that her son had gone out to have a good time, and didn't make it back home.

Myrlande later learned that Jason fought hard for his life that night. Jason had the courage to talk to the gunman. The last bullet Jason took shielded someone else. Patience Carter had been shot in the leg and Jason helped to keep her calm. Just before the bathroom walls were breached by police, the gunman started to shoot again.  Jason covered Patience with his body and took the bullet. Myrlande was told that he died instantly and didn't suffer.

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