Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Surviving journalist tells of moment terrorist sprayed office with gunfire

By Harriet Alexander

A journalist who was in the Charlie Hebdo editorial meeting has described the moment when the terrorists opened fire.

Laurent Leger (48), an investigations correspondent at the weekly, told Le Parisien - where he previously worked - about Wednesday's meeting.

The conference was about to break up when they heard what they thought were firecrackers in the street below.

"We didn't pay any more attention than that," he said. "We were just happy to see each other again." It was at that point that the door to the meeting room was thrown open.

"A man dressed in black with a uniform like that worn by police or gendarmes appeared just behind me," said Mr Leger, who was seated with his back to the door.

"I turned around. He was big, hefty, and had an assault weapon in his hands.

"We still thought it was a joke. But then we smelt the strong odour of gunpowder in the corridor, and we all realised that this wasn't a joke at all."

Mr Leger said the gunman opened fire immediately. The journalist threw himself into the air, he said, and then crouched on the floor by a small table.

"He didn't go all the way around the room, thankfully, because there was the meeting table in the middle. That's what undoubtably saved many lives."

The killer then went out into the corridor. "I remember the silence after they left. I was frozen beneath the table. It was unreal."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph