Metairie native shot during Orlando terror attack talks with FOX - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Metairie native shot during Orlando terror attack talks with FOX 8

Leo Melendez (Family photo) Leo Melendez (Family photo)
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

For the first time we hear from a Metairie-native who was shot during a terror attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Leo Melendez is out of the hospital and on a long road to recovery. The Grace King graduate tells us he plans to make the most of his second chance at life. 

"If I can make it this far and God gave me another chance to be alive then I can make it longer," said Melendez.  

What was supposed to just be a night out with a friend changed Melendez's life forever.

"My friend was telling me get down this is a shooting but I was confused because, you know, like, the music, you're in a nightclub, you don't think that that's happening, so, that's when I guess I got shot in the leg and I said my leg hurts and my friend said just throw yourself on the floor and be quiet," said Melendez. 

That was during the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub June 12th. Melendez says he doesn't remember anything after that until he woke up in an Orlando hospital three weeks later. 

"The first thing I remember was asking for my friend because I was with him, you know, so, that was the first thought that I got, like, what happened to my friend and that's when they gave me the news that he passed away," said Melendez.

Melendez had lost his friend and would learn he had been shot in the head, his leg and his foot. He says the fact that he survived is a miracle. 

"The doctors said that actually I'm a miracle walking," said Melendez. "They said that I actually died for 10 minutes and they were about to sign me out to say that I was dead when I started doing convulsions." 

He lost 90% of his hearing in his left ear and 50% in his right. He also had to undergo leg reconstruction and will have to be monitored to make sure his wounds heal correctly. 

"The doctors really didn't have hope, they thought just me waking up would be six months and I did it in six weeks, so, they're like amazed how my recovery's going," said Melendez.

Despite all he's been through, his optimism and strength shines through. 

"I just want to tell people that God is good. Life, you're here for a purpose and if you have a chance like myself to come back to life, to make the best out of it, to learn from it, see things from a different perspective and mature," said Melendez. 

Melendez says he's thankful for all the support he's received. He will have to do months of physical therapy. He plans to return to Metairie soon to continue his recovery with his family by his side. 

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