Twelve people were killed when brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi stormed the offices of Charlie Hedbo, a French satirical magazine with a history of mocking the prophet Mohammed.
The Truth About Guns, a pro-gun campaign group in Plano, recreated the attack on a set designed to replicate the magazine offices, while volunteers stood in as the victims inside the building, where the gunmen shot nine people.
“There are so many people out there saying, ‘Yes, a gun would have saved lives’ or ‘No, a gun wouldn’t have done anything,’” Amanda Dodd of Patriot Protection, the training facility where the recreation took place, told the Dallas Morning News. “We have the ability to provide real hard data about whether that would have impacted or not.”
— Andrea Lucia (@CBS11Andrea) January 14, 2015
Twelve people took turns in the simulation, using a gun that fired paint-filled bullets.
The volunteers, one of whom was armed with the non-lethal gun, sat on the set for a random amount of time in surroundings similar to that of Charlie Hedbo’s morning staff meeting. Then, two men with training similar to that shown by the Kouachi brothers, and who were armed with non-lethal rifles otherwise similar to those used in the attack, entered the building.
The two gunmen made noise upon entering the set, alerting the volunteers and giving them time to prepare. From there, the action was unscripted and unpredictable, with those who were armed firing paint-filled rounds to show who and what had been struck.
Only one volunteer was able to escape the offices alive, and only because she ran from the set, leaving both attackers unharmed. Two volunteers were able to take out one of the gunmen before being killed. Nine people died without injuring either of the attackers, which was the same fate of the nine unarmed journalists in Paris.
None of the participants in the reenactment were able to prevent the massacre by shooting both attackers.
— Typical Shooter (@typicalshooter) January 13, 2015
Parks Matthews, 37, was the first person placed in the scenario. He fired at the gunmen but was shot in the finger, forearm and back of the head.
“Problem was, I ran out of ammunition, and they kept coming. I wasn’t smart enough to get out of the way and take cover,” Matthews, who has undergone firearm training, told the Dallas Morning News. “But I did better than I thought.”
Nick Leghorn, testing and reviews editor for The Truth About Guns blog, said the point of the exercise was to see how people reacted.
“We’ll see if having a gun on the defensive side makes any difference,” said Leghorn, who previously worked as a contractor for risk analysis projects for the Department of Homeland Security.