News World ‘They were targeting young people having fun’
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‘They were targeting young people having fun’

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Getting stuck on a barrier in the Bataclan Theatre saved the life of Hobart teen Emma Parkinson.

The 19-year-old was among about 1000 revellers at the Eagles of Death Metal concert on November 13 when gunmen entered and began spraying bullets into the crowd.

She told 60 Minutes after initially believing the noise to be fireworks, the crowd dropped to the floor, covering their heads with their arms.

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“I looked back at one point and that’s just a really weird image, almost a thousand people in a concert hall, just on the floor,” she said in the interview which aired on Sunday night.

“I had the impression [the gunman] was on the balcony … above me.”

Ms Parkinson was shot in the buttock and said there was a mad rush to leave the building.

“It was quite dark because it’s a concert venue and, to be honest, someone could’ve died right next to me and I probably wouldn’t have realised … it was just people rushing and trying to get out,” she said, with calmness and acceptance of the situation.

“There was no one [who] didn’t have blood on them. Everyone was covered. I’m just seeing people running as fast as they could.”

Ms Parkinson bought tickets to the concert, which had been sold out for months, on Facebook just three hours earlier.

She was only metres from the front of the stage when the gunmen entered.

The crowd huddled together, frozen, as 89 people were massacred, until someone shouted to run. As she did, she was shot as she tried to escape over a barrier, but forced herself to keep going.

The escape

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Tributes were left at the Bataclan Theatre, where 89 people were killed. Photo: AAP

“I ran towards this barrier and tried to jump over it … but I got stuck because there were people around, I couldn’t get my legs up, and that’s when I was shot,” she said.

“Maybe if I had have just jumped over and ran, I wouldn’t be here.”

She said it was lucky she became stuck because her torso and head had been protected as she bent over the barrier.

A quick assessment told her it had not hit anything vital, so she kept going.

She escaped the theatre through a stage door and fled onto the street, before she took refuge with several others in the stairwell of a nearby residential building.

They frantically knocked on doors to find a safe place to hide from the attackers, but the only person who opened their door was too terrified to let them in.

The group were “conscious of being quiet” to avoid attracting attention and were overwhelmed when help arrived hours later.

“[I felt] just incredible relief at the time,” Ms Parkinson said, “like I didn’t notice it was tensed, but every muscle in my body relaxed.”

The aftermath

eagles of death metal
Several people died in the dressing room of the Eagles of Death Metal. Photo: AAP

After she was assessed by medics she was transported to hospital and underwent surgery for a gunshot wound.

She was reunited with her mother and father in Paris last Monday.

Ms Parkinson said she did not feel personally targeted, but part of a violent act aiming “to kill ‘someone'” and incite “hate”, “fear” and “make people afraid”.

“They were targeting young people who were having fun and laughing and being happy and doing what young people do,” she said.

“Those people must’ve been sick. No healthy person, no sane person, can walk into a room full of people having fun and start shooting at them.”

Ms Parkinson escaped with others into another building, and she said that’s when the enormity of the situation hit her.

“This guy just grabbed me, saying ‘You’re going to be fine. It’s okay, it’s over. I’m going to save you’,” she said.

The band breaks its silence

Speaking for the first time since the attacks, Eagles of Death Metal singer Jesse Hughes and band member Josh Homme told Vice magazine of the massacre of several people who had taken refuge in the bands dressing room.

“The killers were able to get in and kill every one of them, except for a kid who was hiding under my leather jacket,” Mr Hughes said in a sample of the full interview, which was yet to be released.

“People were playing dead, and they were so scared.

“A great reason why so many were killed is because so many people wouldn’t leave their friends, so many people put themselves in front of people.”

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