American Who Survived Attack Was in Turkey for Birthday

Jake Raak says he played dead
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2017 11:07 AM CST
American Survivor of Turkey Attack Calls Himself 'Luckiest'
People carry William Jacob Raak, 35, a Delaware business owner originally from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, on a stretcher at Ataturk Airport, in Istanbul, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. Raak had been shot in the leg.   (Faik Kaptan/ DHA - Depo Photos via AP)

Jake Raak calls himself "probably the luckiest person in the whole thing"—the "whole thing" being the New Year's Day massacre at a Turkish nightclub. The Greenville, Delaware, resident tells NBC News the shooter walked within inches of the bench he was under, and that when he was shot in the hip, he made no sound or movement so as not to alert the gunman he was still alive. It may have been a life-saving choice: Reuters reports the gunman, who ultimately killed 39, specifically went after the wounded at the Reina club in Istanbul.

Raak says that among his group of nine, all but two were shot. The State Department has confirmed he was the only American injured. The bullet that struck him ended up in his knee. His mother tells the AP that her 35-year-old son had traveled to Istanbul to celebrate his birthday, which was last Wednesday. ISIS on Monday claimed responsibility for the massacre. While eight people have been detained, the gunman remains at large. (Read more Turkey stories.)

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