"You could just tell it was a high caliber," said Yousuf, a former sergeant who just left the Marine Corps last month. That's when his Marine Corps training kicked in, he said. He ran toward a locked door that people had huddled around, too terrified to move.
"I'm screaming 'Open the door! Open the door!'" Yousuf told CBS. "And no one is moving because they are scared.
Imran Yousuf, a former sergeant, credited his quick response to his Marine Corps training. He told CBS News that when the shooting started, people inside the nightclub were so terrified that no one unlatched a door leading to safety.
"I'm screaming 'Open the door! Open the door!'" Yousuf told CBS. "And no one is moving because they are scared. " he explained. "There was only one choice — either we all stay there and we all die, or I could take the chance, and I jumped over to open that latch and we got everyone that we can out of there."
By creating the an exit, Yousuf estimated that about up to 70 people were able to get out of the nightclub safely, he told CBS.
"I wish I could've saved more," he told CBS. "...There's a lot of people that are dead."
"There are a lot of people naming me a hero and as a former Marine and Afghan veteran I honestly believe I reacted by instinct," he wrote on Monday. "I have lost a few of my friends that night which I am just finding out about right now and while it might seem that my actions are heroic I decided that the others around me needed to be saved as well and so I just reacted."
While he appreciates the support he has received, Yousuf stressed that people should focus on the victims' families, not him, he wrote.
"We need to show our love and profound efforts to the families and friends who have lost someone and help them cope with what happened and turn our efforts to those who truly need it," he wrote. "Once again I sincerely thank everyone and bless all those who are recovering and trying to make sense of it all."
Watch his full interview with CBS here: