An American man shotin the New Year’s Eve attack on a nightclub in Istanbul says he survived the early morning ordeal by playing dead as a gunman fired more than 100 rounds into the crowd early Sunday morning.
“When he shot me I didn’t move — I just let him shoot me,” Jake Raak, 35, told NBC News. “I was shot when I was already on the ground. He was shooting people that he had already shot.”
Raak, from Greenville, Delaware, said the gunman sprayed bullets through the crowd and targeted those who were lying on the floor.ISIS has since claimed responsibilityfor the early-morning bloodbath, allegedly targeting Christians in a statement posted to Twitter.
More than 60 people were injured and 39 were killed — most of whom were foreigners — in the rampage at Istanbul’s Reina nightclub around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. The incident barely lasted 10 minutes.
Raak was with a group of about nine people, seven of whom were shot. The ChaddsFord native said he was shot in the hip and the bullet traveled to his knee.
“You just have to stay as calm as you can,” he told NBC News. “I took a bullet.”
Surveillance footage of the suspect has emerged as a manhunt is underway in Turkey. The chilling footage shows the gunman — armed with a long-barreled firearm and dressed in black, wearing a backpack — outside the club before storming inside.
He killeda police officer and civilian outside, then sprayed bullets on the crowd at Reina, packed with an estimated 500 people celebrating the new year.
— The Ankara Times (@TheAnkaraTimes) January 1, 2017
Turkish police have detained eight people and are questioning them in connection to the attack. Authorities believe the shooter, however, carried out the attack alone.
ISIS forces posted a statement on Twitter early Monday claiming responsibility for the attack.
“In continuation of the blessed operations which ISIS carries out against Turkey, a soldier of the brave caliphate attacked one of the most popular nightclubs while Christians were celebrating their holiday,” the statement, which has not been independently verified, said.
Another statement, released through a news agency unofficially tied to the terror group, claimed the attack was retaliation against Turkish military involvement in Syria.