The younger brother of one of the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooting victims says he thought his sibling was joking when he texted him that he was shot at a club.
"Lmao," Santos Rodriguez responded.
Jeff Rodriguez, 37, was born and raised in Leominster, Massachusetts. He was shot three times when a gunman opened fire at Pulse nightclub, killing at least 49 people. Jeff is in critical condition at a local hospital.
U.S. & World
His younger brother Santos, who lives in Florida, says Jeff texted him during the shooting rampage. The first message was sent at 2:25 a.m. Sunday, "dead bodies on top of me...tell everyone i lovethrm[sic]."
Santos thought this was a joke. "No Joke Santy," Jeff texted back. "Call mami...tell her i kve[sic] her."
Nearly an hour later Santos realized his brother was telling the truth after an online search.
Santos says his brother survived thanks in part to a friend who kept him alive for hours in that club, "putting pressure on his wounds. She was there covered in blood, talking to him, waking him up, talking to him, telling him to stay up."
"I just want to see him and say like, I believe you now… I'm sorry that I didn't believe your text," he told NBC News.