“It was a bloodbath,” Julien Pearce says.
The radio reporter was at the Bataclan, a theater and concert hall in Paris’ 11th district Friday night, listening to an American rock band perform.
The show was drawing to a close after almost an hour when gunmen stormed the venue, Pearce told CNN.
“People yelled, screamed,” he said. “It lasted for 10 minutes. Ten horrific minutes where everybody was on the floor covering their head.”
At one point, authorities said hostages were being held in the theater before French special police teams stormed the building. Two of the attackers were killed, according to Paris Deputy Mayor Patrick Klugman and the French police union.
At least 112 people were killed in the attack at Bataclan, the French interior ministry said.
More than 40 people were killed in other attacks elsewhere in Paris and in Saint-Denis, French officials said.
After police entered the Bataclan, detonations and gunfire could be heard from outside the concert hall, according to a CNN producer at the scene.
Authorities were able to bring out at least 100 hostages, some of whom appeared to be wounded.
On the Facebook page of the band that was performing, Eagles Of Death Metal, a post said it’s unclear where the band and crew are and how they’re doing.
The theater has a capacity of 1,500, Cyril Vanier, a reporter with France 24, told CNN.
Shooting us ‘like birds’
Pearce said he was near the top of the stage during the incident.
He saw two people he called terrorists enter the theater, “very calm, very determined” and firing “randomly.”
They wore black clothing but no masks. He saw the face of one shooter, who was very young — a maximum of 25 years old.
“He was like a random guy holding a Kalashnikov. That’s all.”
Pearce said the gunmen stood near the back of the room and continuously shot people who had dived on the floor when the shooting started — shooting some of them execution-style.
“They were not moving,” he said. “They were just standing at the back of the concert room and shooting at us. Like if we were birds.”
Pearce says he told the people around him to hide and play dead.
They waited until the gunmen reloaded their weapons and ran to an empty room, which didn’t have an exit.
“We were trapped,” he said.
After five more minutes of gunfire, the attackers stopped shooting. “They reloaded again, and we ran.”
Pearce found an exit and ran to the street, where he saw 20-25 people laying on the ground — many of them dead or injured very badly. He said he saw no police when he first got outside.
He also encountered a teenage girl who was shot twice in the leg and was bleeding very badly.
“I grabbed her, and I put her on my back and we ran.”
After going about 200-300 meters, he put the girl in a taxi and told the cabbie to get her to the hospital.
When he first spoke with CNN, Pearce said he still had friends inside the Bataclan. He was communicating with them by text message; they were hiding.
“This is terrible,” he said, his voice cracking. “It was horrible.”
Security at the scene
Security at the concert was fairly lax, according to Pearce. There weren’t metal detectors, he wasn’t patted down, and the security guards didn’t look in his bag. They just looked at his ticket.
“Security was very poor,” he said.