Los Angeles

Witness Who Escaped Terror Wants to Return to Paris

NoHo-based sportswear executive says terrorists cannot be allowed to win.

As relieved as was a North Hollywood based businessman to leave Paris Saturday, he now speaks of his desire to return — in support of a shaken city,  and as a personal message to terrorists.

"The purpose of these people is to scare us. We can't let them win by getting scared," said Johnny F. Beig, a sportswear executive who was in the Stade de France Friday night when he heard the first in a series of explosions outside the stadium.
Beig recalled walking out to the concourse and seeing security personnel lined up to seal off the gates. Then he saw casualties, six or seven wounded people being transported to medical care.
Most inside the stadium did not appear to be aware of what was happening, Beig said, but a large group did make its way out before game's end.
"There was some panic, and everybody started running toward us," said Beig.
At this point, Beig said, he had no knowledge of the attacks elsewhere in Paris at the cafes and nightclubs. But his French-speaking companion was gleaning information.
"She's like, 'Hey, I'm hearing explosion and I'm hearing, like, terrorist attack,'" Beig said.
The Stade de France is a considerable distance north of central Paris. They had taken the Metro to the stadium, but were fearful of returning on it, and began walking, trying to avoid crowds, Beig said. After an hour, he got an Uber driver to pick them up and take them back to his hotel, which they found in a state of lockdown.
"When you see blood on the street, when you see dead bodies lying around, it takes a toll on you," Beig said.
Across the city of lights, more than one hundred had been killed. For Beig's companion, a Parisian, it was almost more than she could bear. 
"She went to the hotel and cried all night long. She could not believe what she saw," said Beig.
He was scheduled to fly out Saturday and did so. As senior vice president of the Dioz Group, he has an international company to run and returned to the office first thing Monday morning.
He is clearly shaken by what he witnessed. But he wants to return to Paris, and rejects the notion that such a wave of coordinated attacks could be motivated by religious faith or culture.
"They don't have any religion, any culture," Beig said of the terrorists. "They are just animals."
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