Local News

'Could have happened in Raleigh:' Triangle natives describe chaos moments after Barcelona attacks

Posted August 17

— Raleigh-natives Julie and Josh Palmer were one block away from the deadly Barcelona attacks in Las Ramblas Thursday afternoon.

Josh Palmer, who was in Barcelona competing in a professional poker event, and his wife said they were having lunch around 4 p.m. when the attack occurred. They were able to return safely to their hotel.

"All of a sudden we saw a bunch of people running down the road," Julie Palmer said. "Stores were closing. People were closing down their garage doors. It was kind of like a lockdown."

"It kind of calmed down for a couple seconds, and then there would come another wave of people from Las Ramblas."

Palmer saaid when the attack happened, she immediately took to Facebook to let family and friends in North Carolina know that they are safe.

"We actually got off a tourist bus right at where the van ended up and walked a different way today. A couple hours earlier we could have been right there," she said.

Palmer said she noticed armed officials just moments before the attacks.

"They had their guns pointed down when they were walking. They were very intense," she said. "Our first thought was to get out and get away from everybody that was running.”

Palmer said people were running away without knowing what was happening.

"There was just a scatter effect because no one knew what had happened. With so many people, there was just confusion," she said.

Paul Lacono with Travel Experts of Cary said travel to Barcelona and other European destinations are still extremely popular.

He said recent attacks have caused some people to reconsider their travels. He often reminds concerned clients about safety statistics.

"There are 75 million tourists in Spain every year," he said. "The chances that you're going to be one of the 75 million who is hurt in a terrorist attack is so minute, so small," Lacano said.

Palmer said she and her husband still plan to explore Barcelona.

"We're choosing not to live in fear. This could have happened in Raleigh, the same as here in Barcelona."


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  • Steve McToots Aug 18, 10:06 a.m.
    user avatar

    Why does WRAL feel it needs to link every news story not relates to raleigh - to raleigh?
    "It could have happened here" of course it could have. it could have happened in okeeefenokeee swamp too....but it didn't. It happened in Barcelona - quit trying to make EVERYTHING to be about Raleigh

  • Rodney Hill Aug 18, 8:18 a.m.
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    Of course this *could* happen in Raleigh (or anywhere).

    However, Raleigh doesn't have A) 75 million tourists a year or B) La Rambla or somewhere similar where there are a dense amount of foot traffic. Raleigh is hardly a high value target for terrorists.

  • Mary James Aug 18, 4:56 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    This had nothing to do with opposing Trump. But please keep grasping at any chance you have to bring it up. For someone that disagrees with WRALs political affiliation you sure do waste a good deal of time reading what I'm sure you consider to be "fake news". Get a job, quit trolling- I hear the pay is terrible.

  • Jeffrey Derry Aug 17, 11:00 p.m.
    user avatar

    secure the border when you have open borders you are on your way to losing your country along with your language and culture...if not you will soon have 'NO GO' zones in Raleigh

  • Kenneth Jones Aug 17, 6:31 p.m.
    user avatar

    Didn't this happen in Chapel Hill 11 years ago?

  • Tim Orr Aug 17, 5:58 p.m.
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    Yes it could have happened in Raleigh. As long as we have a media with a liberally biased opinion the chances are increasing that it could happen here. The more media feeds the agenda that it's ok to act irresponsibly as long as you're opposed to Trump, the more the chance of it happening here will increase. Stop feeding the entitled (insert word that will be disallowed to remove my freedom of speech since I disagree with you).