Brian Morearty was enjoying dinner in Paris Friday when the sound of gunfire pierced the night.
At first, the Peninsula resident and his Airbnb colleagues, who were in the French capital for a conference, mistook the "Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!" for fireworks, he said.
"I started asking, 'What happened?'" Morearty recalled.
News about the deadly terror attacks quickly trickled into Morerarty’s social media feeds. He promptly texted his wife saying that he was safe and loved her.
The jihadist Islamic State has since claimed responsibility for the coordinated gun-and-bombing attacks in Paris that killed 129 people – 89 of whom were at the Bataclan concert hall – and injured at least 352 others.
But, at the time, Morearty didn’t know how close he was to the terrorists.
"It turned out [that we were] half a block from some of the shootings," he said.
Morerarty said that all the diners at the restaurant where he was hunkered down for about five hours after word about the massacre first surfaced. He then decided to walk to his Airbnb host’s apartment in the dead of the night.
"I walked until my phone died," he recounted.
After an emotional reunion at San Francisco Airport Sunday, Morearty resumed his normal routine Monday. But Paris and the events that unfolded that fateful night are fresh in his mind.
"Mostly what I’m feeling is compassion for the people of Paris – they lost loved ones," he said. "The memory is going to stay forever. It was very intense."