Norway shooting survivor played dead among bodies

A Norway youth camp shooting survivor told CBC News Network Saturday that he played dead around the bodies of his friends and didn't dare move — even when the gunman shot him in the shoulder at close range.

'I played dead, that's why he put the bullet in my shoulder,' youth leader tells CBC

Adrian Pracon describes how he played dead among the bodies of his friends and didn't dare move, even when wounded. 9:53

A Norway youth camp shooting survivor told CBC News Network Saturday that he played dead around the bodies of his friends and didn't dare move — even when the gunman shot him in the shoulder at close range.

Adrian Pracon, 21, a youth leader at the Utoya camp who spoke to CBC News Network ahead of going into surgery for his wound, recalled how he was so close to the gunman that he "felt the warmth" from his weapon.

Pracon said he was on his way up to the coffee shop to buy some chips and soda and planned to share with the other people about the bombing in Oslo when gunshots rang out.

"I'm standing there buying this and then 10, 20 seconds and the shooting started. People are running up hill towards coffee shop. Many made it but many didn't make it and were shot. They landed at my feet."

"We all ran into the water, at which point, I didn't have time to take off my clothes, it was very hard to swim and I struggled," Pracon said. 

"We turned back [and] the gunman aimed the barrel at me. I said, 'Please don't shoot.'  He didn't shoot. He was five, 10 metres away. I got back, changed to a sweater [and] tried to stay calm. Suddenly, the gunman started to shoot at people again."

It was then that Pracon lay among his dead friends.


Follow Nahlah Ayed on Twitter as she reports from Norway

"I was lucky. I was lying on the ground and I played dead, that's why he put the bullet in my shoulder," he said. "I didn't move, I was so focused not to move. He shot from a distance of one metre.

"I could hear his breath, I could hear his shoes. I could feel the warmth from the gun."

Pracon said people started screaming when the real police arrived, fearing they were also a part of the attack.

'I saw many dead people'

This Thursday, July 21, photo shows young people at the Labour Youth League summer camp on Utoya island, Norway when Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere made a visit. (Scanpix/Vegard Gratt/Associated Press)

Other survivors described a surge of panic and horror as they fled from a man dressed in a police uniform opening fire on their friends.  

A 16-year-old witness named Hana told the country's Aftenposten newspaper that she and a group of other campers gathered in the main house to talk about what had happened in Oslo.

"Suddenly we heard shots. First we thought it was nonsense. Then everyone started running," she said.

"I saw a policeman stand there with earplugs. He said 'I'd like to gather everyone'. Then he ran in and started shooting at people. We ran down toward the beach and began to swim."

A 15-year-old camper named Elise said she heard the gunshots but felt safe after seeing a police officer. Then he started shooting people right before her eyes.

"I saw many dead people," said Elise, whose father didn't want her to disclose her last name. "He first shot people on the island. Afterward he started shooting people in the water."

Elise said she hid behind the same rock that the killer was standing on.

"I could hear his breathing from the top of the rock," she said.

She said it was impossible to say how many minutes passed while she was waiting for him to stop.