Editor's note: The violence in Paris continues as two more hostage situations are developing in the city. Stay up to date on the frightening scenes here.
Laurent Léger is a journalist who works for Charlie Hebdo. Fortunately, I did not have to write that in the past tense, for he managed to escape the horrifying terror attack on his newspaper’s headquarters on Wednesday.
Léger spoke to France Info about his harrowing ordeal of being in the newsroom when three Islamic terrorists stormed in and started opening fire on the journalists who dared to print satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. The journalist recalls that he first thought the attack was a joke, but then quickly realized he was in serious danger. The interview is in French, but here are a few highlights from his account which have been loosely translated:
"The door opened. A guy gushed shouting "Allahu Akbar." He looked like a type GIGN and RAID, he was hooded. He was all in black. He had a gun he was holding in both hands," he says.
Léger then managed to find shelter, saying he 'escaped' the terrorists' eyes, but it was little comfort as he watched some of his coworkers be murdered in cold blood. Heartrendingly, 12 lives were taken.
Since Wednesday's tragedy, activists have proclaimed "Je Suis Charlie" ("I Am Charlie") to express solidarity with the satirical newspaper. Several media outlets have also stood up for the outlet and journalism as a whole in the name of free speech.
May our freedoms be protected and the murderers be brought to justice.