Kansas City residents with ties to France react to terror attack

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Bastille Day attack on Thursday in Nice, France, hit close to home for French people living in the metro area.

UMKC student Peter Patureau King, who grew up near Paris, said his mother and brother visited Nice the day before the attack.

"I have been in constant contact with my family," he explained. "They sent me text messages that next morning that they were OK. It's, once again, the horror."

King explained how his home country is reeling after multiple terror attacks over the last year and a half, including the Charlie Hebdo shootings in January 2015 and the Paris terror attacks last November.

The latest attack on Thursday happened on Bastille Day, a holiday to mark French independence.

King said much of the holiday is spent celebrating with friends and family, going outside and watching fireworks.

"It's the same thing as the Fourth of July here in the United States," he explained. "It's saddening to realize that such cowardice attacks will happen the day people decide to celebrate."

For others around the metro area, the attack in Nice was met with worry. UMKC French professor Kathy Krause said she first heard about the attack while browsing Facebook. She later realized that some of her colleagues were in Nice at the time of the terror.

"It was sort of an immediate reaction," she explained. "They sent an email quite quickly telling everyone they were OK."

With ties to the Nice area, Kraus explained how the city is known for its beaches.

She said the Bastille Day celebrations quickly turned tragic.

"People were out enjoying themselves. Not too many places were open because it's the holidays," she said. "It was just fun to horror in a matter of seconds."

With friends and family of Kraus and King safely accounted for following the attacks, both said their thoughts are with the families of the victims.

"It is something that is going to be conquered," King explained. "[The French people] will decide to stand strong in who they are."

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Tom Dempsey can be reached at Tom.Dempsey@KSHB.com.

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