Nice Terror Attack Eyewitnesses Recall ‘Panic-Stricken’ Horror

Two Americans who witnessed the Thursday, July 14, terror attack in Nice, France, recounted the tragic event during a Friday, July 15, interview with the Today show.

"I remember looking up and seeing a wave of people with completely panic-stricken faces running towards me at full steam screaming at the top of their lungs, trampling baby strollers, and my first instinct was to run in that exact same direction," Denver physician Kevin Motamedi told Today’s Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer. "As soon as I took off, we started hearing gunshots. That made me run even faster."

As previously reported, an assailant — who French media have identified as 31-year-old French-Tunisian Nice resident Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel — drove a truck through a crowd of people who were gathered at the Promenade des Anglais to celebrate France’s Bastille Day. The suspect killed at least 84 people, including children, and injured 202 others.

Two Americans who witnessed the Thursday, July 14, terror attack in Nice
Two Americans who witnessed the Thursday, July 14, terror attack in Nice

NBC News journalist Bob Franken was also witness to the attack.

"Most people who were witnesses to all this would immediately jump to the conclusion that this was not some sort of horrific accident. They say that the driver very obviously hit the gas. It was not something that he did involuntarily,” he told Guthrie and Lauer. "He seemed to aim, according to many, many witnesses, for the people who were walking along after the Bastille Day fireworks display."

Bastille Day Nice
Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

"As heavy as the police presence was,” Franken added, “they weren't ready for this.”

After plowing through the masses, the attacker got out of his vehicle and began shooting in all directions, an eyewitness told the Associated Press on Friday. According to CNN, the suspect — who was killed during a shootout with police — was known by Nice authorities for petty crimes, but was not thought to be a potential terrorist.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which French officials have deemed an act of terrorism. In response, French President François Hollande has extended a state of emergency across the nation.

Watch the witnesses recount what they saw during the attacks in the video above.


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