By JEFFREY SCHAEFFER and THOMAS ADAMSON
PARIS (AP) – Members of the Californian rock band Eagles of Death Metal gave moving testimony on Tuesday about the night when extremists from the Islamic State group stormed their concert at the Bataclan theater, killing dozens of people during of the worst attack in France for generations.
Singer Jesse Hughes and guitarist Eden Galindo, both civil parties to the case before a Paris court, are among the survivors and witnesses of the November 13, 2015 attacks. They told the court that the attacks had turned their lives upside down for all time.
Galindo, 52, remembers escaping through a side door, not knowing if the gunmen were chasing them, and ending up in a police station “with others covered in blood”.
The guitarist said he was thinking of the families of the victims and praying for them every day, adding that since the dark moment, “I’ve been living a different life. I’ll never be the same again.”
Hughes, 49, was visibly moved, saying that when he heard the gunshots in the concert hall he ‘knew death was upon us’. He said they “ran for their lives” after “nearly 90 of my friends (fans) were murdered in front of us”.
“The perpetrators tried to leave a legacy of terror,” he said. Then he ended by quoting former Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne: “You can’t kill rock n roll.
The only surviving member of the extremist team that attacked several targets in Paris that night, Salah Abdeslam, is the main defendant. He was defiant and contradictory in his testimony, but broke down in court last month, asked for forgiveness and expressed his condolences for the victims.
All the other assailants either blew themselves up or were killed by the police.
The survivors and the families of the victims see in this exceptional month-long trial a crucial chance for justice and closure seven years after the attacks on the Bataclan, Parisian cafes and the national stadium, which left 130 dead.
The trial began in September and is expected to end next month.