Published:
June 30, 2015
Highbridge pensioner came face to face with Tunisia gunman

A Highbridge pensioner has spoken about the moment he came face to face with a gunman during the Tunisian terrorist attack in which 38 holidaymakers died.

Keith Hawkes, a former Gurkha who served 22 years in the army, risked his own life when he ran towards the gunfire to see how he could help those being shot.

Keith was on a holiday booked by his wife as a 70th birthday present when the terrorist incident unfolded around him.

Mr Hawkes told ITV News: "All of a sudden there was three or four very loud bangs. I recognised these bangs as gunshots straight away, having experienced it many, many times during my army service. I looked down across the pool and I could see people running towards us."

"Everybody then got up and started to run. I grabbed hold of my wife and we both took cover behind a wall."

"I looked round and saw a man with an AK47 rifle slung across the front of his body. He wasn't actually looking at me, he was looking down at a phone that he had in his hand. Someone shouted that he was another gunman."

"There was an injured person just to our right and we were talking to him, telling him to keep quiet and not to move."

"Then there was another loud bang and he'd fired a shot in the reception area. We were just so, so lucky. The bullets came in our direction. I know that because we were immediately below the glass doors."

"I looked down to my left and I saw there was a man with his head in his hands who was sobbing. He told me he had just lost his wife. He said they just shot her through the neck and what could I do? I just had to console him. That's all I could do."

"I then went down to the swimming pool and picked up some towels and began to cover the bodies."

A national minute's silence will be held to remember victims of the Tunisian beach attack this Friday (3rd July) at mid-day, a week after the shooting which killed 38 people.


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