Washington residents, students in Paris recount terrorist attacks

SEATTLE -- Some people from Western Washington found themselves caught in the middle of the Paris terror attacks.

We reached former Q13 FOX News producer Sean O’Heir by phone Friday night. He’s vacationing in Paris, and was just starting what he thought would be a fun  night with friends.

“We got out of the Metro and we heard what we were hoping was fireworks, because we heard the sound coming off some buildings,” he said.

He added that it took a while to understand the terror that was unfolding around him.

“We saw a policeman in riot gear, he had a machine gun and was running at us. He had a scared look on his face, he was saying, 'Get inside! Get inside!'”

O’Heir is not the only Washingtonian caught in Paris right now. The University of Washington says 29 students and eight staff members are there, as part of a study-abroad program. Adam Kirk is one of them.

“My whole street is locked down, military, it’s kind of like a war zone, honestly.”

He’s staying in an apartment just a few blocks from The Bataclan concert hall where gunmen killed more than 100 people. He says he could hear loud bangs from there, when police moved in to end the hostage situation.

“At that point, about 100 people came rushing into my courtyard. They all looked panicked, a couple didn’t have shirts on, and one guy had a large abrasion on his leg. They all came rushing in, and I locked my doors and laid low. I didn’t know what was happening.”

A lot of people are still trying to figure out what has happened and why.

The pastor at Seattle's St. James Cathedral took time during Friday night's service to mention the tragedy in France.

“I find myself not only praying for those who lost their lives and their families and loved ones, but also for the people who would do such a horrific thing,” said the Rev.  Michael Ryan.

He  said he’s hoping God can heal those with so much hate in their hearts -- and can comfort all of us with so much sorrow in ours.

“This violence is not just something there, and it’s not just someone else’s problem. We’re all part of it.”

UW tells us there is no indication that any of their students or faculty in Paris are hurt. We’ve also heard from Seattle Pacific University, Gonzaga, and Whitworth. They say all their study-abroad students have been accounted for.

The French Consulate in Seattle said there will be a vigil at noon Saturday. It will take place at La Parisienne Bakery at 2507 4th Ave. in Seattle.