November 2015 Paris Attacks: "This is something I carry with me every single day"

Mandy Palmucci, an American tourist and witness / victim of the November 2015 Paris terror attacks, joins France 24 for Special Edition coverage of the Paris Terror Attacks Trial. Ms. Palmucci was enjoying her final night in Paris with some friends over drinks at La Belle Équipe. She went to the counter to close out the bill when all of the sudden the shooting started. "We were getting ready to pay our bill, to go on to a restaurant. And about a minute after we had decided to leave, I heard, or we heard, some popping noises. And I had my back to the street. So I had turned in the direction of the noises and was able to see some flashing lights. And I don't know what in my brain connected it to gunfire, but I knew immediately and we dropped to the ground. And then, for the next minute and a half, they shot into the terrace where we were... and reloaded and shot again for another minute or so before leaving." Even when everything went silent, Ms. Palmucci continued to lie there, motionless, unsure if they were still there or if they would return. It wasn't until some bystanders came by and gave the all-clear that she dared to get up. Surprisingly, the thought of a terrorist attack never occurred to her. "Unfortunately, living in the United States, mass shootings are a common occurrence. And one of the very first things that went through my mind, as I was lying on the ground, and they were shooting, was 'I'm in a mass shooting, like what happened in Colorado at the movie theater.'" It wasn't until Ms. Palmucci returned to her hotel, just after midnight, that she really began to understand the gravity of the situation. As we approach the six-year anniversary of the deadliest attack ever in peacetime France, Ms. Palmucci still struggles to process that horrific event. As the trauma from that fateful day lingers, "you never know what's going to trigger those types of feelings. Sometimes it's little things. Or, for instance, when I was notified about this trial, in June, that was kind of an emotional time where I needed a few days to think through everything. So there is really no pattern. I've worked on as many of the triggers that I can that I have experienced from that night, but this is something I carry with me every single day."