Quite a story: A 26-year-old graphic designer named Lilian Lepère says he hid for eight hours under a sink that Chérif or Said Kouachi drank from during the Jan. 9 printing plant standoff that ended with the brothers’ deaths. The Kouachis were holding a man named Michel Catalano hostage but were unaware of Lepère’s presence. He estimates that his hiding space was about 2 feet by 3 feet wide and tall in its front dimensions, and about a foot and a half deep. From France 24:
“At one point one of the two men opened a cabinet just next to mine. I thought ‘he’s going to go through all the cabinets. If he’s looking for something he is going to go through all the cabinets,” he recalled.
“He went to the fridge and then came back towards where I was hiding. Then he started drinking from the sink just above me,” said Lepère.
“I could hear the water running just next to my head, I could see his shadow through the crack between the doors. The sink leaks so I started to feel water running across my back. It was surreal. I was thinking ‘this is like the movies, this only happens in movies,’ ” he added.
Lepère was able to make contact via text with a brother-in-law, who put him in touch with police. For the last four hours of the standoff, Lepère helped provide authorities with information about the Kouachi brothers’ whereabouts within the building.
Catalano’s story, told in this National Post article, is just as surreal: He says he made coffee for the Kouachis and even helped bandage a wound Said Kouachi had sustained. Catalano was released by the Kouachis before police made their final assault on the building.