A motorcyclist chased the truck used in the Thursday, July 14, terror attack in Nice, France, in an effort to stop the driver, who killed at least 84 people.
In footage filmed on a smartphone by German journalist Richard Gutjahr and obtained by The Guardian, the biker is seen riding alongside the vehicle as it heads toward the Promenade des Anglais, where thousands were gathered to celebrate Bastille Day by watching fireworks and listening to live music. The unidentified man on the motorcycle then dismounts the bike and attempts to enter the cabin of the truck, but falls under the wheels instead.
“I stood on the balcony, right on the Promenade des Anglais, and saw how people celebrated there, and how suddenly a truck drove through the crowd,” Gutjahr recounted to Agence France-Presse Friday, July 15.
“Surprisingly, [the truck driver] drove very slowly, not fast. He drove slowly and he was chased by a motorcyclist,” he continued. “The motorcyclist attempted to overtake the truck and even tried to open the driver’s door, but he fell and ended up under the wheels of the truck.”
Gutjahr told the French outlet that he saw two police officers open fire on the vehicle. “The driver stepped on the accelerator and the truck sped up, accelerated and drove zig-zag into the crowd,” he said. “In the next 15 to 20 seconds there were shots from several guns. I don’t know who shot at whom.”
Gutjahr added: “The panicked crowd ran in all directions. Those who could save themselves ran into the hotels, or sought security in the hotel entrances.”
As previously reported, French media have identified the suspect as 31-year-old French-Tunisian Nice resident Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. An eyewitness recounted the attacker’s rampage to the Associated Press and said that he saw the driver mow through the masses before getting out of his vehicle with a gun, which he shot in all directions.
CNN reports that the suspect — who was shot and killed by police Thursday — was known to local authorities for petty crimes but wasn’t suspected as a potential terrorist. Officers were searching Bouhlel’s home in the Abattoirs neighborhood of the French Riviera city on Thursday, according to Nice-Matin.
French authorities are calling Thursday’s attack an act of terrorism. French President François Hollande extended a state of emergency across the country. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
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