Angel Colon, a 26-year-old Zumba instructor, thought he might never walk again.
Angel Colon, one of the survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting, danced for the first time since the tragedy, which claimed the lives of 49 people.
Colon, an Orlando Zumba instructor, appeared at the 2016 Zumba Fitness Instructor Convention, held in that city, where he addressed conference attendees in an emotional speech. “This past month has been the worst month of my life, but going through this there’s been nothing but love and support from everyone,” he told the crowd.
The 26-year-old was shot six times when a lone gunman opened fire in Pulse June 12. Colon was wounded attempting to flee the attack and was trampled by other clubgoers escaping the gunfire.
“He was shooting everyone on the floor, making sure they’re dead,” Colon told reporters following the shooting, adding, “I look over, and he shoots the girl next to me. And I’m just there laying down, and I’m thinking, I’m next. I’m dead.”
He was saved by Omar Delgado, one of the police officers on the scene. Delgado “dragged Mr. Colon through broken glass to the street and then to a nearby Wendy’s,” according to The New York Times. When Delgado finally got Colon to safety, the patrolman reportedly told him, “I’m so glad you’re alive.”
Delgado joined Colon onstage at the conference, held at the Orange County Convention Center. “I’m amazed and I’m so proud of you,” Delgado said.
The officer added that since the attack, he and Colon have become family.
“That second that you moved and I just happened to look your way, it created a bond between you and me,” Delgado told the audience. “We will always be brothers, and no matter how long it takes for you to get well, I’m going to be by your side.”
In addition to being joined by his friend, Colon received well wishes from Jennifer Lopez, who told him to keep dancing, in a prerecorded message.
“Stand tall, Angel, and dance,” Lopez said. “Dance as the world is watching.”
Following the broadcast, Colon danced for the 5,700 Zumba instructors in attendance. He chose to perform “Love Makes the World Go Round,” a Pulse tribute song recorded by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda and Lopez herself.
Colon, who was initially unable to walk after the shooting, said that the outpouring of support has given him a renewed sense of hope. “I can’t even count the number of hugs I’ve received,” Colon told The Huffington Post at the conference. “This experience has been amazing and I am honored to feel so much love.”