A recent high school grad’s celebration ended in tragedy.
Akyra Murray was identified as the youngest victim of the Orlando nightclub massacre, which occurred in the early morning hours on Sunday.
The young woman was only 18 years old, finished third in her class of 42 students and was celebrating her educational achievements with her cousin and a friend at Pulse nightclub when her life was cut short.
The shooter, Omar Mateen, entered the Orlando hot spot around 2 a.m. and began spraying shots throughout.
Murray was one of 50 who died in what has been defined as the biggest massacre on U.S. soil.
Shortly after Mateen entered the club Murray’s mother, Natalie Murray, received a chilling text from her daughter, saying she’d been shot in the arm. Moments later she received a frantic call from the teen.
“She was saying she was shot and she was screaming, saying she was losing a lot of blood,” Natalie said. “I just tried to tell her to remain calm and apply pressure to the wound. All I could hear was my baby screaming.”
Mateen remained in the club for several hours as police negotiated with him. All the while, Murray was hiding in a bathroom stall where she slowly bled to death. Her cousin, Tiara Parker, and friend, Patience Carter, are still recovering at the hospital.
The shooter was later killed by police but it was too late to save Murray and dozens of other victims.
The ambitious young woman, who graduated from West Catholic Preparatory High School in Philadelphia less than a week ago, had recently signed a letter of intent to play college basketball at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania.
As part of her celebration she and her parents as well as her 4-year-old sister were vacationing in Florida.
Against his better judgment, Murray’s father, Albert, allowed her to go to the nightclub.
“She begged me to take her,” he wrote on Facebook. “I’m falling apart.”
(Photo: Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)