London, July 15 (IANS) A heroic member of the public halted the truck involved in the Nice terror attack — in which 84 persons were confirmed dead — by leaping into the vehicle, wrestling with the driver and seizing his revolver, giving the police time to arrive at the spot and shoot the driver dead, a media report said.
The Independent quoted police sources in Nice as confirming that the murderous two kilometre charge of the lorry, driven by Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, might have been even longer if it had not been for the courage of a member of the public.
The man had hurled himself into the cab when the 20 tonne truck was held up by an obstruction. He wrestled with the driver, who seized a revolver and fired several shots at the man and at police officers who arrived on the scene. None was hurt. The driver was then shot dead by two officers, the police said.
An eyewitness, Eric Ciotti, told the media that as people tried to flee from the truck, someone jumped in and was able to help the police kill the man.
“A person jumped on to the truck to try to stop it,” Ciotti said.
“It’s at that moment that the police were able to neutralise this terrorist. I won’t forget the look of this policewoman who intercepted the killer,” he added.
Another eyewitness, Nader El Shafei said: “I kept yelling at him, waving with my hands to stop and trying to tell him that there is a lot people under his truck – dead already. But he did not give any attention to anyone outside the truck.”
“And suddenly I saw him picking up something like a cellphone. I thought he would call the ambulance for the accident but it seemed that I was wrong, because he just picked up his gun and he started to shoot the police,” El Shafei added.
“Just when the police arrived they just felt something was wrong so they kept yelling at him and when he did not step out – they saw him from the window taking his gun out,” he said.
“They knew that would be a gun shooting so they just killed him right away – they did not wait to negotiate or something, they just opened fire on him,” he added.