A Delaware businessman wounded during a deadly shooting rampage in Turkey said Monday he was partying in the New Year with friends when the club exploded in gunfire.
William Jacob "Jake" Raak said he faked death to avoid being shot again, and his brother said Raak may have been saved by his cellphone. The Islamic State took responsibility for the attack that left 39 people dead.
"I was with nine people, seven of us were shot," William Jacob "Jake" Raak told reporters at the Istanbul airport as he prepared to fly home. "All I can say is it's a massive tragedy."
Scores of revelers at the club Reina in Istanbul were wounded in the attack shortly after midnight Sunday. Raak, 35, was visiting friends in Istanbul, where days earlier he had celebrated his 35th birthday. Video from the scene shows Raak, on a stretcher, being placed in an ambulance at the scene.
"I was shot in the (expletive) leg, man," Raak says. "These crazy people came in shooting everything!"
Video from the club shows a lone gunman; a manhunt was underway for the killer.
Raak told NBC News he was on the floor when he was shot, then pretended to be dead.
"I just let him shoot me," he said. "You just have to stay as calm as you can... I took a bullet."
His brother, Michael, was at home in Philadelphia when his brother called with the news. Michael Raak told NBC10 in Philadelphia that Jake's cellphone may have saved his life.
"When he got shot, the bullet hit his phone," Michael told NBC10. "It went from his hip to his knee but the bullet didn’t hit any major arteries."
Turkey has been rocked by a series of deadly terror attacks in recent months. Turkey is a partner with the United States in the international struggle against the Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the attack. Jake Raak expressed his support for the Turkish people.
"This is a very good country and it's so unfortunate that this is happening," Raak told reporters at the airport. "I really feel for everyone here.
"I wake up in the United States and I eat breakfast," he said "You guys wake up and have to think of this. I really wish everyone here the best."