'It Was Fear': Local Man Witnessed Attack in France | NECN
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'It Was Fear': Local Man Witnessed Attack in France

Bill Rapp describes the moments following the horrific attack in Nice, France. (Published Friday, July 15, 2016)

As terror unfolded in the French City of Nice on Thursday, a Connecticut native witnessed it, having just walked away from the site before it was attacked. 

Just moments before a large truck plowed through crowd revelers on the Promenade des Anglais, Bill Rapp, his wife and a friend were there to watch the fireworks in celebration of Bastille Day, the French national holiday. 

As the group walked back home, the promenade was attacked. 

"It was fear. People were running and some of these people had no idea why they were running," Rapp said. "We started to see panicked people crying and running, and it started to panic others on the street." 

Rapp moved from Connecticut to Nice in October and said there was panic on the streets and people fled in every direction. 

He and his wife rushed back to their home and turned on the TV to discover what had happened. As more information was released, the death toll rose. As of Friday morning, at least 84 people have been confirmed dead

When the Rapps headed back out later, they saw destruction about a block away from the scene. 

"There was so much debris and trash on the pedestrian zone," Rapp said. "As we were walking through, there was police ... running through the pedestrian zone with their guns out in tactical formations, looking at everybody who was in the pedestrian zone." 

What was meant to be a night of celebration turned into terror and many in Connecticut are desperate to find out if their loved ones are safe. 

The husband of Marda Gutierrez, the president of Alliance Francaise of Northwest Connecticut, is from Nice and some family and friends are still unaccounted for. While they wait for word on their loved ones, they are praying for the safety of all people of France. 

"We hope for the best. That's all we can do. We certainly send out our condolences to all of the families and victims -- the victims and all of France. Viva la France. It was Bastille Day after all," Gutierrez said.

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