Tunisia museum attack survivors recall fear

BardoTunisian police and defense officials gather outside the National Bardo museum in Tunis, Tunisia, Saturday March 21, 2015. The two extremist gunmen who killed 21 people at a museum in Tunis trained in neighboring Libya before caring out the deadly attack, a top Tunisian security official said. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

By BENJAMIN WIACEK and HAROLD HECKLE

SIDI BOU SAID, Tunisia (AP) — The insomnia and headaches are constant companions, as is the memory of the bullet-riddled woman he was unable to help. After surviving the attack at Tunisia’s Bardo museum, Josep Lluis Cusido has returned to Spain with an unwanted souvenir: fear.

Other tourists who survived the attack, like Americans Gillian Grant and Carol Calcagni, recount how the experience has left them tempered with defiance and with an even stronger affinity to the country.

Two young Tunisians, radicalized and trained in Libya, shot dead 21 people at the renowned museum before being killed in a shootout with security forces.

Cusido, the mayor of the small Spanish town of Vallmoll, was just arriving at the museum with his wife and other family when the gunmen came after him. With bullets ricocheting sparks off the stairs as he ran up, Cusido made his way to the third floor, already crowded with visitors.

“I shouted ‘terrorists, terrorists’ and the shooters came in. Imagine the situation, you’re visiting a museum that is all culture and art. Who would imagine that’s where someone is going to shoot at you and kill you?” he told The Associated Press on Saturday, after returning to Spain. “Some scattered, others couldn’t and were killed right there. It was truly a massacre.”

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