At around 9:40pm on Friday night in Paris, a sold-out concert by the American band Eagles of Death Metal turned into a bloodbath. Three black-clad gunmen armed with Kalashnikov rifles stormed into the Bataclan theater, shouted "Allahu akbar!" and opened fire.
"When they started shooting, we just saw flashes," one concertgoer told France's BFM-TV. "People got down on the ground right away. It was all dark."
Footage recorded from inside the venue shows the band rocking out — then ducking for cover as the pop-pop-pop of machine gun fire erupts offscreen.
"It lasted for 10 minutes, 10 minutes, 10 horrific minutes when everybody was on the floor covering their heads and we heard so many gunshots, and the terrorists were very calm, very determined, and they reloaded three or four times their weapons," Julien Pearce, a radio reporter who was inside the theater, told CNN.
Some witness said the gunmen threw grenades into the crowd, the New York Times reported. Another witness reportedly said that the attackers deliberately targeted people in wheelchairs, hunting down people in a section of the 1,500-seat theater set aside for the disabled.
One graphic video showed people rushing out the back door of the theater into an alley. Some bodies could be seen lying on the ground motionless. Others trapped on the upper floors of the building clung desperately to window ledges, dangling several floors above the pavement below.
A total of 89 people were killed in the attack. Across Paris, coordinated attacks at the Stade de France, a restaurant, and a bar left 129 people dead and more than 300 injured.
Benjamin Cazenoves, a Frenchman inside the concert at the time of the attack posted to Twitter, describing "carnage" and "bodies everywhere." He posted another message that said "Pray for us." Cazenoves posted an update the following morning saying he had survived.
Harrowing footage taken from outside the venue by photographer Patrick Zachmann showed police who responded to the scene scrambling to avoid gunfire from the attackers.
At around 10pm, took several hostages and began a standoff with police that lasted for nearly two hours. At approximately 12:15am, the police stormed the theater. The siege ended with explosions and a hail of bullets. Police fatally shot one of the attackers. The other three detonated suicide vests.
Universal, the music label for Eagles of Death Metal, later issued a statement saying all members of the band were safe and unharmed. Nick Alexander, the band's 37-year-old merchandise manager, was among those killed.
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