A Southern California student studying abroad will cut his trip short by a month and reunite with his family this week after escaping a stadium bombing in Paris unharmed.
On Friday, California Lutheran University student Bruno Sajor and some friends had gone to the packed Stade de France soccer stadium to watch France play Germany.
He told NBC4 on Skype Monday that the game was one of the high points of his trip. Everyone was happy and the fans were cheering.
But in just a few horrific moments, all of that changed. Sajor said he heard explosions, then watched as thousands of people left the stadium, some in tears.
He found out later that a pair of bombs had gone off not far from where he was. The wave of coordinated attacks have claimed the lives of 129 people and also wounded 352.
A California State University, Long Beach student was among those killed in the attacks. She was identified as 23-year-old Nohemi Gonzalez of El Monte.
Sajor, who is from Oxnard, said he has seen a marked change in the city around him in the past 48 hours. He says the terrorist attacks have left Paris shattered and insecure.
"This is probably the most horrific thing that I've ever experienced," the 26 year old said. "We call Paris out here the City of Light. But for that 24-hour span it was probably the city of darkness."
Sajor recalls the chaos that followed the bombing.
"People were mourning, people were yelling," he said. "It was total chaos, it was total mayhem."
Sajor's mother, an English teacher at Channel Islands High School in Oxnard, said she's just glad he's OK and coming home soon.
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"I just want to hold him," Mylinh Sajor said. "That's all I want to do."
The mother said she had no contact with her son for several hours as the attacks unfolded. Sajor said he couldn't reach her because he had no Wi-Fi connection.
When they got on the phone 10 hours later, they both cried.
Sajor will reunite with his family Wednesday afternoon when his flight arrives.
Asked if the attacks have changed his view of traveling abroad and if he ever plans to revisit Paris, he said "absolutely."
Sajor said if there's one thing he's learned from being so close to the attacks, it's that we cannot take our relative security in America for granted. He says the people of Paris will recover and he's looking forward to seeing them again soon.