Turkey Attack: American survivor Jake Raak played dead, stayed silent

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ISTANBUL — An American shot during the Istanbul nightclub rampage told NBC News he survived the ordeal by playing dead, remaining silent and motionless even after the gunman shot him.

Jake Raak was one of around 60 people injured during a rampage in and around the Reina nightclub early on New Year's Day. Some 39 people were killed in the incident — most of them foreigners.

The 35-year-old from Greenville, Delaware, recalled that as gunman moved through the club spraying bullets, he targeted people who were lying on the floor.

Photos from the scene:

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An ambulance arrives near a nightclub where a gun attack took place during a New Year party in Istanbul, Turkey, January 1, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
A Turkish police officers stands guard on the site of an armed attack January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. At least two people were killed in an armed attack Saturday on an Istanbul nightclub where people were celebrating the New Year, Turkish television reports said. / AFP / YASIN AKGUL (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Turkish anti-riot police officers stand guard at the site of an armed attack January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. At least two people were killed in an armed attack Saturday on an Istanbul nightclub where people were celebrating the New Year, Turkish television reports said. / AFP / YASIN AKGUL (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
First aid officers carry an injured woman at the site of an armed attack on January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. At least two people were killed in an armed attack Saturday on an Istanbul nightclub where people were celebrating the New Year, Turkish television reports said. / AFP / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY (Photo credit should read IHLAS NEWS AGENCY/AFP/Getty Images)
Police secure area near an Istanbul nightclub, Turkey, January 1, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
An ambulance arrives near a nightclub where a gun attack took place during a New Year party in Istanbul, Turkey, January 1, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
People flee as ambulances are on the attack site on January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. At least two people were killed in an armed attack Saturday on an Istanbul nightclub where people were celebrating the New Year, Turkish television reports said. / AFP / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY (Photo credit should read IHLAS NEWS AGENCY/AFP/Getty Images)
Turkish special force police officers and ambulances are seen at the site of an armed attack January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. At least two people were killed in an armed attack Saturday on an Istanbul nightclub where people were celebrating the New Year, Turkish television reports said. / AFP / YASIN AKGUL (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Turkish special force police officers and ambulances are seen at the site of an armed attack January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. At least two people were killed in an armed attack Saturday on an Istanbul nightclub where people were celebrating the New Year, Turkish television reports said. / AFP / YASIN AKGUL (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Police secure area near an Istanbul nightclub, Turkey, January 1, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 1: Relatives of the victimes gather neat the area at Ortakoy district near night club Reina on January 1, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin says at least 35 dead and 40 wounded at terror attack at Istanbul's famous night club of Reina in Bosphorus shores in the new year party. (Photo by Stringer/Getty Images)
Turkish special force police officers and ambulances are seen at the site of an armed attack January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. At least two people were killed in an armed attack Saturday on an Istanbul nightclub where people were celebrating the New Year, Turkish television reports said. / AFP / YASIN AKGUL (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 1: Turkish police secure the area at Ortakoy district near night club Reina on January 1, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin says at least 35 dead and 40 wounded at terror attack at Istanbul's famous night club of Reina in Bosphorus shores in the new year party. (Photo by Stringer/Getty Images)
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"When he shot me I didn't move — I just let him shoot me," he said. "I was shot when I was already on the ground. He was shooting people that he had already shot."

ISIS claimed responsibility for the shooting on Monday, identifying the attacker as "a heroic soldier of the caliphate." It said the attack had been carried out "and in response to a call" from its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, although it did not say whether it directed or merely inspired the perpetrator.

The gunman fired some 120 rounds during his rampage in and around the nightclub at about 1:30 a.m. on Sunday (5:30 p.m. ET Saturday), police told NBC News. The incident lasted less than 10 minutes.

Raak was shot in the hip and the bullet traveled to his knee. He added that he didn't move or make a sound even after he was hit, fearful that the gunman might realize he was alive.

"You just have to stay as calm as you can," he said. "I took a bullet."

Raak was with a group of nine people, he said, seven of whom were shot.

Raak said he came within inches of the shooter, who walked along a bench that he was lying underneath.

"I saw him coming and he shot us all," he said. "Somebody said there were shots fired and I initially did not believe it until I saw the gunman and he started shooting up the whole place."

He added: "I was probably the luckiest person in the whole thing."

Authorities on Monday were engaged in an international manhunt for the suspect, who fled the scene after the shooting.

Turkish police handout of a suspect in Istanbul nightclub attack

Police in Istanbul released what they said was an image of the suspect taken from security footage.

"Efforts to find the terrorist are continuing," Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters Sunday. "God willing, he will be caught in a short period of time. This was a massacre, a truly inhuman savagery."

Twenty-eight of the dead were foreigners, Turkish Health Ministry officials said.

Canadian, Iraqi, Saudi, Indian, Lebanese, Tunisian, Kuwaiti and Syrian citizens are among the dead.

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