Officials: Pa. native injured in Istanbul nightclub attack


GREENVILLE, Del. — A Delaware man originally from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, who was wounded in an attack at a New Year’s Eve celebration in Istanbul says he survived the attack by playing dead.

Medics and security officials work at the scene after an attack at a popular nightclub in Istanbul, early Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. Turkey's state-run news agency says an armed assailant has opened fire at a nightclub in Istanbul during New Year's celebrations, wounding several people.(IHA via AP)

William Jacob Raak told NBC News he survived the attack by playing dead and staying silent and motionless, even after being shot.

“When he shot me I didn’t move — I just let him shoot me,” he told NBC. “I was shot when I was already on the ground. He was shooting people that he had already shot.”

People carry William Jacob Raak, 35, a Delaware business owner originally from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, on a stretcher as he returns back home at Ataturk Airport, in Istanbul, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. Raak had been shot in the leg. A manhunt is on in Turkey as authorities work to identify the assailant who killed dozens of people in a crowded Istanbul nightclub during New Year's celebrations Sunday. (Faik Kaptan/ DHA - Depo Photos via AP)

Raak, 35, is a small business owner from Greenville. The State Department said Monday that Raak was the only U.S. citizen injured in the attack, which occurred at a popular nightclub in Turkey’s largest city.

WCAU-TV reports that Raak called his brother, Michael, around 7:30 p.m. EST on New Year’s Eve to say he’d been shot in the leg. Michael Raak told NBC10 his brother was visiting friends in Istanbul.

Istanbul Gov. Vasip Sahin has said the attacker, armed with a long-barreled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian outside the Reina club before entering and firing at people partying inside. At least 39 people, mostly foreigners, were killed.

The Islamic State group on Monday claimed responsibility for the attack. Turkish police meanwhile detained eight people in connection to the attack but were still hunting for the gunman who disappeared amid the chaos of the attack.