Band that played Bataclan during Paris attack to recall event at court
Eagles of Death Metal that played Bataclan on night of Paris attacks in 2015 will tell French court this week how they came face to face with terrorist gunmen who killed 90
- The Eagles of Death Metal performed at the Bataclan theatre in Paris in 2015
- Gunmen killed 90 people at the concert hall in France’s worst terrorist attack
- The band members are set to give their account of that night in French court
- The lead singer escaped after a face to face encounter with one of the gunmen
France’s worst terrorist attack took place on November 13, 2015, Eagles of Death Metal had sold out the Bataclan theatre and had just started their opening song ‘Kiss the Devil’ when three gunmen opened fire.
The Islamic extremists wore suicide vests and shot randomly into the crowd, killing 90.
This week, the band’s frontman Jesse Hughes, 49, will give his version of events to a Paris court, including how he came face to face with one of the gunmen.
The band’s former guitarist, Eden Galindo, 52, and Matt McJunkins, 39, who was playing bass that evening, will also give testimony in one of France’s largest legal cases ever.
They are expected to talk about the horrifying events that occurred when jihadists stormed into the auditorium and the impact the traumatic event has had on their lives.
Members of the American rock group Eagles of Death Metal will give testimony to a French court about their experience on November 13, 2015, when the Bataclan concert hall they were performing in was attack by Islamic gunmen
Frontman Jesse Hughes (pictured: right, next to guitarist Dave Catching at a memorial in front of the Bataclan concert hall) will describe to the court how he came face to face with one of the terrorists this week
The band had not been on the stage for a long time (pictured) when the three gunmen opened fire on the crowd, which some confused for a speaker malfunction or pyrotechnics initially
The gunmen who stormed the Bataclan died in the attack, but there are 14 defendants at the trial.
However only one is accused of direct involvement – Salah Abdeslam, 31, who allegedly abandoned a suicide belt outside the Stade de France.
The rest are accused of lesser terrorism offences. The trial, which began in September, is expected to end late next month.
‘I saw the looks on all those faces in front of me,’ said former guitarist Galindo. ‘[The audience] didn’t know what was happening, they couldn’t see anything. They were being pushed against each other, and then against the stage.
Salah Abdeslam (pictured), 31, is the only surviving member of the attackers who struck Paris
‘It’s hard to go back into all that,’ he told the newspaper, Journal di Dimanche. ‘For all these years, I’ve been trying not to think about it.’ Writing the statement he will read out to the court ‘[took] me back to the emotions that came over me after the attacks’.
Galindo said he still struggles to forgive those responsible, though he feels it is the right thing to do.
He added: ‘It’s a long road and I hope to get there one day. But today, I still feel so much anger towards them.’
Frontman Hughes’s, a gun enthusiast, immediately knew what was happening when he heard the first of around 50 shots – unlike his bandmates and audience members who thought it could’ve been pyrotechnics, fire crackers or a speaker malfunction.
The singer was the first to realise and shouted to his bandmates to run.
He, Galindo and drummer Julian Dorio managed to safely escape via a door backstage, but guitar player Dave Catching and bass player Matt McJunkins were unable to escape.
Catching hid alone in a bathroom stall while the McJunkins hid in a dressing room with several fans.
A commemorative plaque and flowers were placed at entrance of the Bataclan concert hall (pictured) in 2018 to remember to 130 people who were killed on the third anniversary of the Paris attacks
An eyewitness reported hearing the gunmen ask amongst themselves where the members of the Eagles of Death Metal were once the gunfire stopped.
Hughes recalled his escape and how he came face to face with one of the gunmen.
‘I saw the shooter. He turned and brought the gun down on me but the barrel hit the door frame,’ Hughes told Vice in an interview recorded shortly after the event.
The band’s merchandising manager, Nick Alexander, 35, from Essex, died – the only Briton to be killed that evening in which 130 people were killed.
Giving evidence in October, his sister, Zoe Alexander, told the defendants in the trial that while her family ‘deplore what you did, we don’t hate you’.
The band members are among more than 2,000 people accorded the status of parties civiles — those deemed under French law to have suffered physically or mentally as a result of a crime.
As such they are not restricted to describing the horrors of that night but can talk more broadly about their feelings. Some read from long written statements.
Their testimony was been intermingled with that of politicians, police and other experts who have provided insights into the way the attack by the Franco-Belgian jihadist group was masterminded by Isis from its headquarters in the Syrian city of Raqqa.
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