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Video: The Moscow Concert That Turned Into A Massacre

Video: The Moscow Concert That Turned Into A Massacre

Firearms and terror: the Moscow concert that turned into a massacre

The Crocus City Hall auditorium was beginning to fill up for a Friday night rock concert featuring the seasoned band Picnic, which began just before eight o’clock.

The shooters had just crossed the concourse outside the theater and started shooting at random people, injuring and murdering others as they entered.

“Some people in brown clothing, I don’t know who they were – terrorists, military, whoever – broke into the auditorium and started shooting at people with assault rifles,” said photographer Dave Primov, who saw the attack unfold in the Moscow Concert from an upstairs balcony.

Warning: Some of the details of this story are graphic

The show had sold about 6,200 tickets, but security at the door soon melted away. Four guards reported that their comrades had taken cover behind a billboard, saying, “Those attackers passed 10m [30ft] away from us – they started shooting randomly at people on the ground floor.”


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The number of attackers was unknown. However, footage taken from a higher level in the Moscow Concert reveals four men walking separately with a few metres between them across the beige, marble-tiled floor.

The main assailant takes direct aim at the individuals pressed up against the windows. These are the first people to fall prey to Russia’s worst assault in years.

On the northwest edge of Moscow, Krasnogorsk, Khimki, and other neighboring towns accounted for a large number of the dead and injured.

Then a second attacker appears, followed calmly by a third with a rucksack. They pass through the open metal detectors and head toward the auditorium as the fourth man gives him his weapon.

When they heard the disturbance and someone yelled at them to get down on the floor, a woman and her 11-year-old daughter were purchasing ice cream at a café next to the entrance.

“We rushed to the children, lay down and started setting up barricades from tables and chairs, and several wounded people came running to us,” she told BBC Russian.

Inside the theatre, the Moscow concert had been due to start in just a few minutes and some thought the noise might be part of the act.

Sofiko Kvirikashvili heard what she initially thought was “some kind of endless burst of firecrackers – I turned around in the hall once, then again. The third time, I realised everyone in the hall had started running away in all directions.”

The photographer, Dave Primov, described a scene of fear and a crush. Some people in the theater attempted to hide by lying down in the space between the seats, but it provided little cover as the attackers opened fire in the restrooms.

The audience members who could made their way to the stage. When others looked for higher escapes, they discovered that several of the doors were locked. Witnesses reported that both children and older adults were there and involved in the attack.

A woman who had been in one of the upper circles hurried towards the stage and spotted a man firing fire in the stalls: “We ran behind the curtain and one of the uniformed Crocus employees told us to run and we ran out into the car park without any winter clothes.”

Margarita Bunova had just received her opera glasses for the performance when she heard what she initially believed to be firecrackers. Her husband and she later determined that the fast bursts were actually gunfire.

“Somebody said run downstairs and it was complete darkness… we could still hear bursts of shooting behind us by the time we got out.”

A man occupying a VIP box recounted how he and many others locked themselves inside, only to discover smoke rising across the theater.

Vitaly, a different individual, observed the assault from a balcony and said, “They threw some petrol bombs, everything started burning.”

The flames spread quickly, regardless of the type of incendiary device—a petrol bomb or another.

The attack blocked firefighters’ access to the building. Before long, the fire had reached the roof and was visible from Krasnogorsk’s skyline. When a section of the roof collapsed, the fire tore through the building’s front two stories, completely destroying them.

Through the foyer, many people who were in the auditorium left. In one gory footage, individuals can be seen racing down stairs past two bodies that are leaning against a sofa.

Another video captures individuals running as gunfire crackles all around them. They manage to reach the building’s back, where there is comparatively more safety. Some of them gather in huddles, while others keep each other company as they move through hallways.

A TV monitor briefly displays the mayhem in front of the stage. No Russian special forces or police are visible anywhere in the structure.

The survivors made their way to the trade entrance of Crocus City Hall via a flight of stairs. While some men made phone calls to loved ones and left, one man was observed retching.

Eva, an assistant to a dance group, was backstage when the attackers burst into the Moscow Concert auditorium. “We were in the dressing room, a crowd rushed past us. We heard noise and people running in the corridor; we grabbed our coats and ran with the crowd.”

Picnic’s members were all initially pronounced safe and well, but later, unsubstantiated rumors implied that one of the musicians might not be there.

Both inside and outside the auditorium, the extent and indiscriminateness of the massacre became evident as the death toll rose beyond 100 and the number of wounded above 200. The oldest victim appeared to be in her 70s according to the first official list of casualties, however children were also among the dead and wounded.

A photo of a white Renault with two passengers surfaced on Russian security services-affiliated social media platforms.

In a brief statement, the jihadist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, but it did not identify which connected branch was responsible. This aligned with an account from US intelligence suggesting that ISIS had intended to attack Russia. The US had alerted Moscow’s “large gatherings” of a possible attack two weeks prior, however Russian officials have expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of specificity in the intelligence.

With an emphasis on keeping its attacks limited to the battlefield, Ukraine promptly denied any involvement.

However, the attackers had “relevant contacts” in Ukraine, according to Russia’s FSB security service, and they had attempted to cross over. Four alleged attackers have been among the many people detained, according to the FSB.

When Margarita Bunova and her husband Pavel returned to the scene on Saturday, they said they hugged their kids as soon as they came home.

The president did not speak to the Russian people until Saturday afternoon in Moscow, during which he spoke of a grieving nation as a whole.

He declared that nobody could threaten the unity of Russia and likened the murderers to the Nazis of World War Two. He also announced that Sunday will be a national day of sorrow.

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