PARIS/NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The NYPD increased security at all high-profile locations Friday evening, after an estimated 128 people were killed in six separate shootings and explosions in Paris. Heavily armed security personnel were seen throughout the city, including a strong presence in Times Square.
An NYPD statement released on Friday night says, in part, “Out of an abundance of caution, as part of an enhanced counterterrorism overlay the Counterterrorism Bureau has made the following deployments: the NYPD Counterterrorism Response Command resources as well as the Critical Response Group and Hercules Teams have been dispatched to crowded areas around the city…to provide police presence, and public reassurance as we follow the developing situation overseas.READ MORE: Driver Killed, Passenger Hospitalized After Vehicle Overturns In Rockland County
There is no known indication that the attack has any nexus to New York City. We will continue to follow events closely and adjust our deployments accordingly.”
New York State Police were also on alert.
Governor Cuomo has directed that the lights of One World Trade Center’s 408-foot spire will light up blue, white and red this evening, November 13, and in the days ahead in solidarity with the people of Paris.
“Today’s horrific attacks in Paris have moved us all, and the more we learn, the more our hearts ache,” said Governor Cuomo. “These were cowardly acts of evil by people who have inexplicably chosen to believe in radical hatred above all else. We reject that kind of extremism – choosing instead the bonds of liberty, equality and fraternity that bring us together.
Today, and in the days ahead, New York will light One World Trade Center in blue, white and red as we stand in solemn solidarity with the people of France, just as they have done for us in our own times of tragedy. We join them in mourning those who were killed, and in praying for those who were injured or lost loved ones. And we continue to stand side by side with them in our commitment to a free and peaceful world.”
CNN reported a total of 112 people were killed at the concert hall, along with 14 at a Cambodian restaurant nearby, 19 outside a bar near the Stade de France outside the city, four at the stadium, and four elsewhere.
The attacks amount to the deadliest in Paris since World War II.
At the White House, President Obama called the attacks an “outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.”
In all, there were at least six separate attacks, the official said.
The greatest number of deaths was in the Bataclan concert hall where the hostages were taken.
CBS2 is told the terrorists in the concert hall threw explosives into the crowd, and a police official described the scene as carnage.
The southern California band the Eagles of Death Metal was playing at the concert hall at the time.
“We are still currently trying to determine the safety and whereabouts of all our band and crew,” the band said on Facebook. “Our thoughts are with all of the people involved in this tragic situation.”
The Paris police prefect told CNN the attackers at concert hall blew themselves up with suicide belts as police closed in, killing four people. The prefect, Michael Cadot, told CNN the gunmen first sprayed cafes outside the venue with machine gunfire, then went inside the concert hall and killed more before the assault by security forces.
Cadot said all the attackers were believed dead, but authorities continued to hunt for possible accomplices, CNN reported.
At a restaurant nearby, broken glass could be seen where the windows were shattered by gunfire. Margot Schmorak, an American woman in Paris on business, heard the gunshots.
“’‘Everybody get inside,’ there were gunshots, ‘Come on lets go,’” she said. “In the restaurant, there was a family with small children and we all got into the basement. We didn’t really know what to do.”
Others witnessed the carnage.
“When I went on the street, I see 20 to 25 bodies lying on the floor, and people were very badly injured with gunshot wounds,” said radio reporter Julien Pearce. “And I took a small girl, a teenager. She was bleeding very badly and I ran. I ran with her.”
A woman who said she was at the restaurant told France 24 television that diners fell to the floor when gunshots were directed at the restaurant’s window. She told France 24 that a woman lying next to her had a fatal injury.
And as CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, an additional event happened just outside the capital – with explosions reported at the Stade de France stadium just north of Paris. A police union official said the blasts were two suicide attacks and a bombing.
At the time, there was a soccer match between France and Germany in progress. One of the explosions was reported at a bar at the stadium where the match was going on.
It seemed as if players and fans were initially unaware of the terror happening around them. Once the news spread, people scrambled over stadium seats and made their way on to the field.
Outside the stadium, the crowd began to run in a chaotic mob.
CBS News reported French President François Hollande was in the stadium at the time. He was rushed away and taken to a secure area.
An AP reporter in the stadium Friday night heard two explosions loud enough to penetrate the sounds of cheering fans. Sirens were immediately heard, and a helicopter was circling overhead.
The officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be publicly named.
A person at the stadium posted to Vine a clip of a blast heard during the game.
Hollande said in an address to the country that the military was being deployed around Paris after the unprecedented attacks. Hollande also announced that the French borders have been closed.
“This is a terrible ordeal that again assails us,” he said. “We know where it comes from, who these criminals are, who these terrorists are.”
Meanwhile amid the chaos following the attacks, Parisians used the hashtag #PorteOuverte, or “open door,” to offer shelter from those seeking safety from the attacks.
Flights from the U.S. were still operating to Paris late Friday. A United Airlines spokesman said the airline was monitoring the situation, but was still operating on normal schedules in and out of Paris. Delta airlines said it was monitoring the situation and calling it very fluid.
But American Airlines suspended its flights.
An NYPD official said the department stepped up security at all high-profile locations in New York City as a precaution. The official said there were no specific threats in New York, and the decision to beef up security was precautionary.
In a statement, the NYPD said it has deployed the NYPD Counterterrorism Response Command, the Critical Response Group, and Hercules Teams to crowded areas around the city.
As CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, Hercules teams were patrolling through the crowds in Times Square Friday night.READ MORE: Police Searching For Missing Bronx Teenager Amanda Perez
Police have also deployed to the French consulate as a precaution, and heavily-armed counterterrorism officers were seen outside the consulate at 934 Fifth Ave.
“This is something we’ve spent a great deal of time preparing for,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism John Miller. “It’s why we have three rings of protection guarding New York City 24 hours a day.”
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security were also monitoring the events in Paris.
Law enforcement stressed there was no threat against New York City or the United States. But officials were prepared for the worst case scenario.
“Our agencies are operating assuming that there is going to be an attack,” said U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) “Now, there’s no evidence there’s going to be, but you act on the assumption that there is.”
King, who represents a Long Island district, is chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. He said such an attack has long been a concern.
“They’ve got thousands of French citizens going from France to Syria to fight alongside ISIS. They’ve been trained as terrorists,” King said. “Now, the fear all along was that they would come back up to France and carry out an attack similar to this.”
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) emphasized the need to be vigilant.
“The war on terrorism is awful. Anyone who thinks it’s over can look across the ocean tonight and see the horror,” he said. “We cannot let up. We cannot let our guard down. There are things that we do to stop terrorists.”
Schumer continued: “People ask, ‘Why France?’ Well, I don’t believe their security is as tight as ours their ability to track terrorists is as good as ours, but also they’ve had many, many more of their people go to Syria with ISIS than we have, so they have a more difficult situation.”
A man named Benjamin, who is from France but lives in New York City now, told 1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr the attacks are hard to hear about.
“I’m a part of the French Army so, it breaks my heart when I hear that,” he said.
Meanwhile in Washington, President Barack Obama held a news conference condemning the attacks and emphasized the common bonds of American and French values – particularly the bonds of liberté, égalité, fraternité as appear in the national motto of France.
“Once again, we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians,” Obama said.
Obama said he has chosen not to call President Hollande at this time because he is likely very busy, but he expects to be in communication with Hollande in the next few days.
At the time of the attacks, Paris was already on high alert in preparation for a global climate meeting in a couple of weeks, which 80 world leaders — including President Obama — were planning to attend.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also released a statement on the violence.
“The people of New York City are heartbroken to see our sister city of Paris shaken again by these thoughtless acts of violence, and we stand in solidarity with the residents of Paris and with Mayor Hidalgo during this tragic time,” the mayor said in the statement. “The victims of these horrific attacks, their families, and all the residents of Paris are in our hearts tonight. NYPD is in close contact with our international liaison in Paris and the local authorities and are closely monitoring the situation.”
New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that he has directed New York State police, the New York State Intelligence Center, and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to actively watch for any implications in New York state from the attack.
“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I offer my thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected by the attacks in Paris earlier today. These were tragic and senseless acts of violence that have claimed innocent lives and torn families apart – and my heart goes out to the loved ones of all who have been lost,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “As more details emerge, I want the people of Paris to know that just as the world has stood by New York in times of tragedy, today New York stands with you.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams also released a statement mourning the violence.
“Brooklyn mourns the horrific brutality that has shaken Paris, and indeed the entire world. I pray for the safety of Parisians in this terrible hour and for swift justice upon those responsible for these inhumane atrocities,” Adams said in the statement. “The global community will not allow the City of Light to be darkened by the scourge of terrorism; we stand united in providing whatever support we can to our fallen brothers and sisters across the Atlantic.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “shocked” by the Paris attacks.
Cameron said on Twitter “Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people. We will do whatever we can to help.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is “deeply shaken by the news and pictures that are reaching us from Paris.” The German leader issued a statement saying her thoughts were with the victims “of the apparent terrorist attack.”
The Secretary-General of the NATO alliance says he is “deeply shocked by horrific Paris attacks.”
Jens Stoltenberg said in a Twitter message that “We stand together with the people of #France. Terrorism will never defeat democracy.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is condemning “the despicable terrorist attacks” in Paris and is demanding the immediate release of numerous hostages being held in the Bataclan theater.
Although no one has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks, some terrorism experts say the Islamic State group is likely responsible.
Brian Michael Jenkins, a terrorism expert and senior adviser to the president of RAND Corp., said the extremist group is clearly the name at the top of everyone’s list.” He said this was because the tactic used — “multiple attackers in coordinated attacks at multiple locations” — echoed recommendations published in extremist group’s online magazine.
James Woolsey, a former director of the CIA from 1993 until 1995 and now chancellor at the Institute of World Politics, also told the BBC he suspected the Islamic State because the coordinated nature of the attacks required government-style planning.
“These are obviously very highly planned attacks, acting in concert at the same time, and it appears to me that they were successful,” said terrorism expert Manny Gomez.
France’s military is bombing Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq and fighting extremists in Africa, and extremist groups have frequently threatened France in the past.
The attack also came as France has heightened security measures ahead of a major global climate conference that starts in two weeks, out of fear of violent protests and potential terrorist attacks.
France has been on edge since deadly attacks by Islamic extremists in January on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery that left 20 dead, including the three attackers.
The restaurant targeted Friday, Le Carillon, is in the same general neighborhood as the Charlie Hebdo offices.
Retired Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer said the U.S. and the international community must be vigilant, since the Friday attacks happened so soon after the Paris attacks.
“We do know already that whoever’s behind this, the scope of it is a mess… the question then becomes, what more is coming?” he said.
The country has seen several smaller-scale attacks or attempts since the Charlie Hebdo massacre, including an incident on a high-speed train in August in which American travelers thwarted a heavily armed Islamic radical trying to attack passengers.MORE NEWS: De Blasio Says City Prepared For School Staffing Shortages As COVID Vaccine Deadline Approaches
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