Colorado woman inside Notre Dame cathedral during attack

Westminster couple was visiting Paris
Posted at 7:08 AM, Jun 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-07 09:08:13-04

PARIS -- A Colorado woman and her husband were inside the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on Tuesday when a hammer-wielding attacker was shot by French police.

Kellyn Pot'Vin-Gorman, from Westminster, told the Associated Press she was near the entrance of the Cathedral when she heard three gun shots and saw a man lying on the ground.

She described the chaos after the shots rang out.

"They were running in all directions and most of them were running to the left of me, towards the main street, the metro."

She says she and her husband were with about 500 people who were held inside the cathedral during the investigation. Authorities told them it was the safest place to be while they made sure it was a sole attacker and there were no accomplices.

Police searched every pew inside the cathedral while Pot'Vin-Gorman and others held their hands in the air. During this time she says priests recited the Lord's Prayer in both English and French to calm the crowds.

Pot'Vin-Gorman says this attack certainly hit closer to home.

"I think in America we’re able to ignore it a little bit more, and it seems much closer to home being here," she told the Associated Press.

The attacker, an Algerian student, cried "This is for Syria!" before attacking an officer with a hammer, according to investigators. The officer had minor injuries. The attacker was taken to a hospital. 

Paris is considering new security measures following the attack. The measures would extend a state of emergency and establish a 24-hour task force.