Imran Yousuf reportedly saved an estimated 70 people from the Orlando shootings

By Naja Rayne
June 23, 2016 07:40 PM

Houston Pride is taking extra steps to make sure this year’s festivities honor the victims of the Orlando shooting.

According to a press release from Pride Houston, Imran Yousuf, a military veteran and bouncer at the LGBT nightclub Pulse, will act as the honorary grand marshal during the city’s pride parade. The 24-year-old will also host a meet and greet with those participating in the week-long celebration.

Following the shooting earlier this month, Yousuf, who served as a Marine in Afghanistan, was hailed as a hero after helped dozens of people escape the terror inside the Orlando nightclub when he recognized the sound of rapid gunfire, according to CBS News.

“The initial one was three or four [shots]. That was a shock. Three of four shots go off and you could tell it was a high caliber,” he told the network. “Everyone froze. I’m here in the back and I saw people start pouring into the back hallway, and they just sardine pack everyone.

“And I’m screaming ‘Open the door! Open the door!’ And no one is moving because they are scared. There was only one choice. Either we all stay there and we all die, or I could take the chance, and I jumped over to open the latch and we got everyone that we can out of there.”

Yousuf estimated that nearly 70 people were able to exit the club after he opened the door, but he added that he wished he could’ve saved more people, as 49 men and women lost their lives, and another 53 were injured.

In memory of the victims, the Houston Pride parade will have a flag with their names on it travel along the parade route. Afterwards, the organization will send the flag to Orlando Pride, which will take place in October.

“It will signify that the Houston LGBT Community and our Allies stand together, and stand strong,” the organization said in a news release. “We stand against hate and stand for love. We stand with Orlando. #WeAreOrlando.”

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