A Sinn Fein MEP and her staff were among those forced to flee when a gunman opened fire, killing three people at the Christmas market in Strasbourg.
Martina Anderson and three members of her staff were among the crowds enjoying the Christmas market at Place Kleber when they heard the shots.
The 29-year-old alleged gunman has a criminal record and, according to officials, was known by the security services as a suspected extremist.
The market visit had been part of a leaving do for one of Ms Anderson's staff members.
"We had just been walking away from the market down a street deciding what restaurant to go to, the incident was at the bottom of that street, and suddenly it was pandemonium," she said.
"I heard the first shot and thought it was fireworks, I didn't initially think shots, then there was another one, and another one and I knew then, obviously with growing up in the Bogside and what we had gone through in the conflict.
"We were running in the other direction, telling people to run back and get back.
"There were people coming out of apartments and hotels, one woman came out with a child and I told her to go back in.
"We knew something was wrong, but there was so much confusion, it was only when we went on social media we saw footage of people lying injured.
"The three staff members who were with me wouldn't have had the same life experience as me and are quite traumatised," she said.
Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson said he and his team were safe, while the DUP's Diane Dodds was at a restaurant near the scene. Mrs Dodds described it as a "terrible incident".
She tweeted: "City centre is on lockdown. We are safe. Police entered our restaurant near the scene. Now waiting for the area to be declared safe."
The suspect was shot and injured by soldiers guarding the Christmas market, but he escaped.
Stephane Morisse from the FGP Police union said that authorities went to the alleged gunman's Strasbourg home earlier yesterday to arrest him, but he was not there. Grenades were found during a search.