This evening of November 13, 2015, Jean-Michel Fauvergue, who then headed the
Raid, had invited his assistant, Eric Heip, to dinner. An informal invitation, far from professional concerns. They had barely sat down to table when a call upset the face of their evening. An explosion has just taken place at the entrance to the
Stade de France, during the France-Germany match. Less than five minutes later, at 9:20 p.m., a second detonation sounded. The concerns are confirmed.
Christophe Molmy, who then headed the repression and intervention brigade (BRI), was also preparing to sit down to eat. “I immediately thought of the September 11th. A plane can be an accident, not two. ” That night,
seven other attacks will follow : a third in Saint-Denis, then the shootings of the terraces of the 11th arrondissement and the Bataclan. 130 dead and hundreds injured in 33 minutes. While
the trial opens on Wednesday, these two elite police officers remember those five days in apnea, the assault on
Bataclan to that of Saint-Denis.
The confusion caused by the multitude of crime scenes
Eric Heip was on duty this Friday the 13th and had therefore taken care to take his outfit and his intervention bag with him. Barely warned of the explosions at the Stade de France, he beats the recall of the troops and sets out, direction the Ministry of the Interior. “I haven’t yet been told that I should finally go to rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi. Another call, a few moments later: it shoots at the Bataclan. The multitude of crime scenes, their simultaneity maintains confusion, it is difficult to know which field of operation to go to.
Warned of the shootings by a journalist, Christophe Molmy is also on the way but, like Eric Heip, he struggles to know where to go. With his assault column on duty, he finally made an appointment at 36, quai des Orfèvres to pick up additional equipment before heading to rue de Charonne, where the bar La Bellequipe is located. “At that time, we thought there was a terrorist holed up in a building but, quickly, we were redirected to the Bataclan. “
“The image that came to me is Dante’s hell”
It is around 10:20 p.m. when the BRI arrives in front of the concert hall. After a shooting of more than 30 minutes, the shooting has just stopped, thanks to the intervention of a night commissary and his driver. They had only their handguns and “light” bulletproof vests with them, but they still managed to shoot down one of the three terrorists. Calm has returned, the “tchak tchak tchak” of the Kalashnikovs have gradually ceased. But these two “first responders”, as they are called in the jargon, have very little information. They do not know how many terrorists are present, if they are still in the room and, if so, where they are holed up. Only certainty, a man alone could not make such carnage.
The BRI enters the Bataclan room. “The image that came to me is Dante’s hell,” says Christophe Molmy. We go through the locker room, there are the first bodies. And then we see the pit. There are hundreds of people on the ground, dead, wounded, and all those lying on the ground, motionless. The smell of blood is very strong, it takes a few seconds to understand what is in front of you. »Eric Heip arrives in his turn« at 22:28. Like his BIS counterpart, he remembers almost every second of that evening. In turn to discover chaos. “We knew the state of the terrorist threat, especially since the January attacks, so we were preparing for it. We train technically, but we do not train to see such a horror scene. “
The strength of the group
Almost instantly, however, the reflexes resume their place, those acquired at the cost of hundreds of hours of preparation. The strength of the group makes it possible not to be overwhelmed by emotion, by a paralyzing fear that could serve the mission. Because time is running out: help the wounded while ensuring that there are no snipers or explosive devices. And at that moment, the police are unaware that upstairs, two terrorists are holed up with a dozen hostages. “For an hour, we won’t know,” says Christophe Molmy.
Find tomorrow the second episode on the confrontation, in a narrow corridor, with terrorists surrounded by ten hostages.