Muslim store worker Lassana Bathily hailed as hero, Lassana Bathily, a courageous, quick-thinking 24-year-old grocery store employee, may have saved more than a dozen lives when a terrorist connected with a string of attacks in Paris opened fire at a kosher market on Friday.
Originally Malian, Bathily guided 15 people to safety in the store’s freezer and away from the gunman, the New York Times reported citing French media.
“I told them to calm down, not make any noise, or else if he hears that we’re there, he can come down and kill us,” he told French television channel BMTV.
The hostage situation ended when police stormed the building, killing the assailant. Four hostages were killed before forces went in.
As siege of the supermarket continued, Bathily decided to make a narrow escape through the supermarket’s cargo lift.
He said he had asked others to join him but they were concerned that the gunman would hear them.
Upon making it out of the store, Bathily provided French police with valuable information on the situation inside the building. He was first asked to walk with his hands behind his head before he was forced to the ground by policeman.
“I was a bit confused,” he told BFMTV.
As the siege ended, Bathily reunited with those he had hidden in the freezer who he said had “congratulated” him.
“They said, ‘Really, thanks for thinking of all these ideas.’ I said, ‘It’s nothing, it’s life.’ ”
Bathily has been dubbed the Muslim Malian on social media, where messages in support of his acts were posted.