© 2024 WGLT
A public service of Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A Witness To The Chaos: Photographer In Paris Relates What He Saw


We turn now to someone who was on the streets of Paris last night. Victor Boyko is a Russian photographer, who's working in Paris and lives close to the Bataclan, the concert hall where the worst of the attacks happened. Mr. Boyko, thanks for being with us.

VICTOR BOYKO: You're very welcome. Hi.

SIMON: You were walking home last night. What did you see? What did you hear?

BOYKO: I got out from the Metro one station away from my home, which is what - the weather was good, so I thought I'll walk. And it started to become strange right after I came out from the metro. The police was stopping at every cafe and forcing people inside to the cafes. So the street looked pretty deserted while I was walking. Another policeman stopped me, then said, like, can I go further? I said well, come on, I live there. I have to go. He said, OK but please be careful. Then I came to the corner of my street, and at the very far end of it is the Bataclan. And the street was closed. Police with vests and automatic rifles were, like, really carefully trying to get into the street. And I went to the bar, which is, like, next-door, which was open. I have many friends there. And from there, we learned about the initial attacks. Then I - from there, we saw many people rushing outside from our street, and then we realized that was the Bataclan. In about half an hour, the police officer came to the bar and said well, we have to clean up this place. Then we were taken to the other side of the boulevard with absolutely no chance to get back where we were. And from there, I saw how wounded people were being rushed to the ambulances. And then Francois Hollande came in about 45 minutes to give his speech to the press, and I stayed there for about two hours.

SIMON: Do you know anyone who was in the attack?

BOYKO: Well, my neighbor living on my floor, he saw it from the window. And he rushed down to help the wounded people. And he got shot in the arm.

SIMON: Sound like a very brave man, a good neighbor.

BOYKO: Yeah. He is not so young. I think he's 50, 55 years old. And yeah, it was the middle the night, and he immediately rushed there to help someone. And I saw a lot of blood in our doorway, and his door was open. I said, what happened? He said, I'm in the hospital now, taking - they're taking me to an operation. He got shot in the arm.

SIMON: What's your neighborhood like this morning, Mr. Boyko?

BOYKO: Deserted. The whole street is closed. There are only policeman there, a lot of bloodstains - happily, no bodies anymore on the street. As far as I can see, the boulevard looks pretty deserted as well.

SIMON: Victor Boyko, in Paris, thanks so much for being with us.

BOYKO: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.