Members of the Californian rock band Eagles of Death Metal provided emotional testimony Tuesday (May 17) about the night Islamic State group extremists stormed their Bataclan theater concert, killing scores of people in France’s worst attack in generations.
Singer Jesse Hughes and guitarist Eden Galindo — both civil parties to the case being heard by a Paris court — are among the survivors and witnesses of the Nov. 13, 2015 attacks. They told the court that the attacks upended their lives forever.
Galindo, 52, recalled escaping through a side door, unaware whether the gunmen were chasing them, and ending up in a police station “with others there covered in blood.” The guitarist said he thinks of the victims’ families and prays for them every day, adding that, since the dark moment, “I live a different life. I’ll never be the same.”
Hughes, 49, was visibly emotional, saying that upon hearing the gunfire in the concert hall, he “knew death was upon us.” He said they “ran for their lives” after “nearly 90 of my friends (the fans) were murdered in front of us.”
“The perpetrators tried to leave a legacy of terror,” he said. Then he finished by quoting former Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne: “You can’t kill rock n roll.”
The sole surviving member of the extremist team that attacked several targets in Paris on that night, Salah Abdeslam, is the key defendant. He has been defiant and contradictory in his testimony, but he broke down in court last month, asked for forgiveness and expressed condolences for the victims.
All the other attackers blew themselves up or were killed by police. Survivors and families of victims see the exceptional, monthslong trial as a crucial chance for justice and closure seven years after the attacks on the Bataclan, Paris cafes and the national stadium, which killed 130 people.
The trial began in September and is expected to wrap up next month.