A nurse among the customers dining at the Comptoir Voltaire café during the Paris attacks unwittingly gave a suicide bomber the CPR. The nurse would have been one of those hurt or killed in the attack. His initial impulse was to save everyone.
The nurse, who preferred to be called David, told Reuters he initially thought the huge flame that took place at the terrace of the restaurant was the result of the heaters exploding. He shouted for the crew inside to cut off the gas. He then left the dining area and went on the terrace to help the wounded.
He first helped a wounded woman. Then he saw a young man who was still conscious but bleeding profusely. He approached the man who looked like a customer just like everyone else. He began performing CPR. David then tore off the man’s shirt and that was when it dawned to him that the explosion was something far worse.
“There were wires; one white, one black, one red and one orange. Four different colors. I knew then he was a suicide bomber,” David told Reuters. “The first wire I saw was red. I think that was the detonator,” David said. “There was something at the end,” he said. As for the man he tried to resuscitate, he said he had a large opening on his side, “about 30 cms.”
Then the firemen arrived. David told one of them what he discovered. One fireman immediately ordered everyone to evacuate. Reuters identified the suicide bomber as Brahim Abdeslam. He was the only one who died at the café. David said he did not notice him before the explosion.
Abdeslam’s mother said her son had no intention of killing anyone, The Independent reported. At the last minute, his son may have decided to blow himself up.
“This was not his plan, that’s for sure. The fact that his suicide belt exploded without killing anyone says a lot,” the mother told press in the wakes of the Paris attack. “We were really surprised that Salah was involved. Brahim was different. We did see that he had been radicalized, at least in part. But not so much that we ever thought he would commit an atrocity like this.”