An original translation by Ava Lon with much thanks.
Attacks of November 13: the confessions of the first police officer to be entered in the Bataclan.
Before the parliamentary committee, the police commissioner admitted he did not think he would “live through this hell.” Arriving before anyone else, he killed the jihadist Samy Amimour.
“For us, everyone was dead.” Before the parliamentary commission investigating the 2015 attacks, the Police Commissioner who was the very first responder of the Paris Bataclan concert November 13, tells how he shot down one of the jihadists. A chilling story, delivered in camera and anonymously, the transcript of which was released on Tuesday.
The man especially shares the feeling of terror during the first moments of the operation, even outside the room, seeing “the dead people on the ground in front of us.” “I remember seeing two: a man in front of the Bataclan Café and a woman outside the entrance. We (also with his police driver, Ed) were recorded because someone was filming with a mobile phone. We told him to leave. We heard gunfire.” The police commissioner then looked at his partner, saying: “Let’s go.” The two men understood each other in a glance, according to him. “It was enough to understand that we were on the same wavelength, and we were unified, a team.”
A face-to-face with Samy Amimour
Around 9:54 p.m., the two team members enter the Bataclan, without waiting for reinforcements, and without knowing what awaits them inside.” As soon as we started to move forward, Bataclan’s wooden swinging doors opened towards us, and between fifteen and thirty people fled running and screaming in our direction,” he said before the parliamentary committee. “From the moment we started to progress down the hall, the shooting stopped, and when we entered, there was no more shooting, it was silence.” “There, the scene was indescribable — you can imagine. Hundreds of bodies — for us, everyone was dead — were entangled with each other: at the bar, in the pit, sometimes piled on more than one meter [three feet] high,” he says. The man then describes an “icy silence” in this still concert hall that was so festive only a few minutes earlier. The Commissioner then describes the terrible face-to-face that eventually led him to kill one of the jihadists who was about 25 meters [80 feet] away. “One of the terrorists, whom we later identified as Samy Amimour […] appeared on the scene. He was in front of us and was holding his assault rifle and threatening a young man a few meters from him. I shot four times and my teammate did twice. The man uttered a groan, collapsed and fell to the ground.”
“There were only the two of us, we had no long guns, we did not know where the terrorists were” — Police Commissioner present at the Bataclan
Seconds later, the officer described an explosion “very high”. This was actually Samy Amimour’s explosive belt that went off. Then an exchange of fire took place in the room, before a new pause. The two men ducked. “We were certain we would not get out of that hell alive,” he said. “There were only the two of us, we didn’t have rifles, we didn’t know where the terrorists were. So I decided to go out to see if reinforcements had arrived.”
“The living pretending to be dead”
Once the two policemen left the room, the gunfire resumed “piecemeal” inside. “So we understand that they are executing people. It was not humanly possible […] for us to stay outside. So we’re all back inside (there are now a dozen policemen, Ed). There was still shooting in our direction, but it was really hard to tell where from. I fired back twice.” When they arrive, people still don’t move. “We could tell that even the living were pretending to be dead,” insists the policeman.
The man explains that after a moment, when the shooting stopped, he decided “to go find the victims who were in the pit a few meters from us.” There, they began to move and to show themselves. “We started to implement an evacuation, one by one, not without difficulties: the floor was very slippery, because there was blood and casings everywhere. We had to step over or move the deceased. There were also people that we knew very well were seriously injured, but we had to retrieve them anyway, unable to use normal aid techniques to transport the victims,” says the police Commissioner.