Fresno French Alliance President said Paris attacks unprecedented and tragic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The president of Fresno's French Alliance says the attacks on the city he grew up in are unprecedented and tragic.

Since this afternoon, he's been monitoring the situation closely, and been in contact with friends and family in the French capital. "Unfortunately we're getting kind of used to this aren't we?" Martin said.

Martin was listening closely to a Paris radio station from the Fresno French Alliance offices-waiting for more updates on the terrorist attack that's left more than 120 people dead. Martin grew up in Paris, and still has family there. He's been told they're all OK. He heard the explosions at the soccer stadium while watching the match on his computer. His nephews were on their way to that match, but turned around when they heard the bombs go off. "Close call for them," Martin said.

Martin says this tragedy is reminiscent of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in January. But he says these attacks are larger, bolder, and reek of ISIS. "So we're launching attacks, we're bombing ISIS positions in Syria and Iraq," said Martin. "France has been doing that for a while."

Like Martin, Fresno State French Professor Natalie Munoz was glued to her computer screen all day. The attacks happened in parts of Paris she's very familiar with, and on streets she walked often. "People are out on the streets and so it makes sense to attack on the streets in a very densely populated capital," Munoz said.

Fresno's Lisa Casarez is the founder of foster family agency Angels of Grace. We spoke with her from Chicago, where she was set to take off for Paris as part of a ten day pilgrimage with nearly 40 other people. But just before takeoff, she changed her mind. "I called my daughter and they were crying saying don't go mom and I just couldn't do it to my family," Casarez said. "They were so worried and I literally stopped the plane I said I gotta get off and my friends all looked at me, like you can't do this. And I said I can't do this to my family."

She knows she can still go someday. Martin, who hasn't been in a few years, plans on returning soon. "There are millions of people and they're still alive right?" Martin said. "Paris is still a beautiful city and it's going to bounce back from this of course."
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.