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War Photographer Managed To Document Westgate Mall Attack As It Happened, Says He’s "Never Seen Such Harsh Murder"

When the terrorist attack at Westgate Mall in Kenya broke out on Sunday, New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks, who happened to be in Nairobi, ran in and started taking pictures. He describes on Twitter what he saw. WARNING: Graphic images.

1. This is Tyler Hicks. He’s photographed wars and conflict in Kosovo, Chechnya, Congo, Ethiopia, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. He happened to be nearby the Westgate Mall in Kenya when terrorists attacked on Sunday, killing at least 65 people.


Tyler Hicks

@TylerHicksPhoto

@davidgregory I was around the corner from Westgate running an errand. My wife called, said there was shooting. #TweetThePress

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3. Journalist and host of NBC’s “Meet The Press” interviewed Hicks on Twitter today and asked him to recount what he saw in the mall that day.


David Gregory

@davidgregory

.@TylerHicksPhoto your images from Westgate mall are so haunting - nearly a week later, what’s it like there today? #TweetThePress

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David Gregory

@davidgregory

.@TylerHicksPhoto Describe being inside the mall and how you balanced your own fear with getting the story #TweetThePress

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Tyler Hicks / New York Times

@davidgregory I then entered the Mall through a service entrance and remained inside for 2 hours. #TweetThePress

— Tyler Hicks (@TylerHicksPhoto)

Tyler Hicks

@TylerHicksPhoto

@davidgregory I then entered the Mall through a service entrance and remained inside for 2 hours. #TweetThePress

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@davidgregory Mall music was still playing, interrupted by gunfire. A strange and unsettling atmosphere. No one knew where militants were.

— Tyler Hicks (@TylerHicksPhoto)

Tyler Hicks

@TylerHicksPhoto

@davidgregory Mall music was still playing, interrupted by gunfire. A strange and unsettling atmosphere. No one knew where militants were.

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@davidgregory Police + army were unsure how many fishters were inside or where #TweetThePress

— Tyler Hicks (@TylerHicksPhoto)

Tyler Hicks

@TylerHicksPhoto

@davidgregory Police + army were unsure how many fishters were inside or where #TweetThePress

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Tyler Hicks / New York Times

@davidgregory Similar to war in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria. Unknown location of assailants, clearing, buildings. shooting. #TweetThePress

— Tyler Hicks (@TylerHicksPhoto)

Tyler Hicks

@TylerHicksPhoto

@davidgregory Similar to war in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria. Unknown location of assailants, clearing, buildings. shooting. #TweetThePress

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@davidgregory Had the same feeling as a war. Everyone was aware, but also worried about what was to come. #TweetThePress

— Tyler Hicks (@TylerHicksPhoto)

Tyler Hicks

@TylerHicksPhoto

@davidgregory Had the same feeling as a war. Everyone was aware, but also worried about what was to come. #TweetThePress

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@davidgregory I've never seen such harsh murder, children, women, civilians, unarmed and lifeless in the mall.

— Tyler Hicks (@TylerHicksPhoto)

Tyler Hicks

@TylerHicksPhoto

@davidgregory I’ve never seen such harsh murder, children, women, civilians, unarmed and lifeless in the mall.

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Tyler Hicks / New York Times

@davidgregory I ran out, people running away from Westgate. Many injured, shot. Complete chaos. #TweetThePress

— Tyler Hicks (@TylerHicksPhoto)

Tyler Hicks

@TylerHicksPhoto

@davidgregory I ran out, people running away from Westgate. Many injured, shot. Complete chaos. #TweetThePress

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@davidgregory @sam_weiser I stayed for as long as possible. I was kicked out by Kenyan police to the parking lot. #TweetThePress

— Tyler Hicks (@TylerHicksPhoto)

Tyler Hicks

@TylerHicksPhoto

@davidgregory @sam_weiser I stayed for as long as possible. I was kicked out by Kenyan police to the parking lot. #TweetThePress

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Tyler Hicks / New York Times

@davidgregory @sam_weiser I would have stayed longer if possible. #TweetThePress

— Tyler Hicks (@TylerHicksPhoto)

Tyler Hicks

@TylerHicksPhoto

@davidgregory @sam_weiser I would have stayed longer if possible. #TweetThePress

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18. Hicks tweeted that of all the images he captured at Westgate, this photo stands out the most.

@davidgregory A woman hides with 2 children during the attck. Several killed were close by to them. #TweetThePress

— Tyler Hicks (@TylerHicksPhoto)

Tyler Hicks

@TylerHicksPhoto

@davidgregory A woman hides with 2 children during the attck. Several killed were close by to them. #TweetThePress

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@davidgregory When I think about the attack, this image that comes to mind first. She was stranded and helpless w/children. #TweetThePress

— Tyler Hicks (@TylerHicksPhoto)

Tyler Hicks

@TylerHicksPhoto

@davidgregory When I think about the attack, this image that comes to mind first. She was stranded and helpless w/children. #TweetThePress

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Tyler Hicks / New York Times

21. On risking his life to document the Westgate attack.

@davidgregory No photo is worth your life. But documenting the attack was worth entering the mall, with caution. #TweetThePress

— Tyler Hicks (@TylerHicksPhoto)

Tyler Hicks

@TylerHicksPhoto

@davidgregory No photo is worth your life. But documenting the attack was worth entering the mall, with caution. #TweetThePress

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Michael Hayes is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.