When a trio of terrorists opened fire at Paris concert venue Le Bataclan on Nov. 13, 89 people were killed, and some heroes emerged.
Los Angeles–area band Eagles of Death Metal was playing a sold-out show for about 1,500. The act's sound engineer, Venice's Shawn London, was toward the rear of the audience at a mixing board as gunfire broke out. He became an unlikely savior, helping to rescue a woman as the killers unloaded their weapons.
London lived to tell what happened, appearing in video interviews with Vice and other outlets because, frankly, he had one of the most harrowing stories from the massacre. And yesterday Eagles of Death Metal performed in Paris for the first time since the attacks, sharing the stage at AccorHotels Arena with U2.
In a video interview with L.A. Weekly in his longtime haunt of Venice, London made a vow to live life to its fullest following his near-death experience on Nov. 13.
He said the band had started its fifth song, “Kiss the Devil on His Tongue,” when gunfire erupted. At first, he said, he thought it was the sound of firecrackers.
“I saw one of the gunmen, and he was shooting in my direction,” London said. “I could smell every incident of blood and gunpowder.”
“I said in my head, 'God, please just make it quick.'”
Rounds “hit my console and buttons flew everywhere,” he said in a previous interview. “I think he [a nearby gunman] thought I probably got hit.”
“All I thought about was, OK, this is how I'm going to die,” London told us.
He hid behind the sound mixing desk, felt a spent clip hit him in the leg, and then scooped up an injured woman and headed for an exit door that had shattered, he has said.
“We all sort of picked her up and ran outside as fast as we could,” London said. “It only lasted about 20 minutes.”
Band members had escaped backstage. Eagles of Death Metal merchandise manager Nick Alexander, a 36-year-old from Britain, was fatally gunned down not far from where London took refuge.
Back home, London says he doesn't take anything for granted anymore, including “getting on my bicycle and riding to the pier.”