An emotional Charlie Hebdo columnist on Thursday described the horrific scene that greeted him after his colleagues were shot dead at the French satirical newspaper’s office and said “I couldn’t save them”.
Patrick Pelloux would normally have been at the editorial meeting that was the main scene of the attack that left 12 dead.
However on Wednesday, in his other job as head of the emergency room doctors’ association in France, he was attending a meeting elsewhere in Paris to improve links between the different emergency services.
“I was at this meeting when Jean Luc, the graphic artist (of Charlie Hebdo) called me to tell me: You have to come here quickly, they have shot at us with a Kalashnikov,” Pelloux told AFP in a phone interview.
“I thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t. When I arrived it was dreadful,” he said, choking with emotion.
Pelloux arrived at the offices three minutes after the attack with a high-ranking fire department official, who Pelloux said acted “heroically” as he triggered the emergency response.
“And as we were taking care of the victims, they (the attackers), were still on the streets killing people,” Pelloux said.
10.05 pm: EU to submit new proposals to fight terrorism after Charlie Hebdo attack
The European Commission will submit new proposals to fight terrorism in the next few weeks following the deadly Islamist attack in France, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday.
“I know from experience that one should not react on the moment to such events given the risk of doing either too much or too little,” Juncker told a press conference in the Latvian capital Riga, which has assumed the rotating EU presidency.