Orlando woman caught in middle of chaos in Nice attack

Sheallah Palmer tells News 6 she was barricaded in France restaurant for 2 hours

Orlando resident Sheallah Palmer lives just blocks down from the Pulse nightclub. She said that shooting hit close to home, so she decided to get away and celebrate finishing her medical residency in Nice, France, when the terror followed.

"We were all like, 'How in the world is this possible?' We were in Orlando for one thing and now we are on vacation, and everyone is already nervous to go on vacation, and then this happened so close to us. It's crazy," Palmer told News 6 via Skype from her hotel room in Nice.

Thursday night, she said she and her three other friends decided to celebrate her friend's birthday and Bastille Day in the Promenade in Nice. She said they had skipped an early dinner to watch the fireworks - a beautiful show she caught on video. Little did she know those were the precious moments before the terror began.

Right after the show, the group decided to go to dinner at a nearby restaurant.

"We just could not get over the fact that if we had a minute or maybe less if we had just hung out longer before we crossed that road that could have easily been us," Palmer said. "That's what I can't get out of my mind, it wasn't even a conscious decision to go to the restaurant but had we done things differently the outcome could have been worse."

The Nice, France restaurant manager tells Sheallah Palmer, friends to put their hands up when leaving.
The Nice, France restaurant manager tells Sheallah Palmer, friends to put their hands up when leaving.

It was inside the restaurant she saw the attack unfold.

"What made it so scary was seeing people running, not knowing why they were running, seeing screaming people and inside panicking seeing their reactions with whatever information they were getting from their phones and from their friends and not knowing if we were safe or not," she said.

What made matter worse is she didn't speak French and didn't really know what was happening or why they were being barricaded inside with the French military outside.

"I didn't know what was going on. Then one of the French girls sitting behind me was crying and she came up to me and showed me her phone, and I can't even explain what was on that video," Palmer said. "It was the truck running over people, obviously dead, in the road, and you can see people sprawled out in the street with blood all around them."

It was the same road she and her friends were standing on mere minutes before.

"I just keep wondering why? Like, there is no purpose to this. Why are there people with such disregard to human life? I just don't understand it," she said."I don't understand why people would do this, and my other question is why wasn't it me? Why wasn't it my friends? Why did we decide to cross directly in front of us instead of walking down the Promenade to cross the street?"

Sheallah Palmer and friends in Nice, France.
Sheallah Palmer and friends in Nice, France.

Even with those unanswered questions, Palmer says she isn't going to let fear creep in and is planning on finishing up her European vacation before coming back home.

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