SOUSSE, Tunisia — A hotel employee who witnessed the massacre at Tunisian tourist resort told NBC News on Monday that the killer "looked like he was taking a stroll on the beach."
At least 39 people were killed in the attack on the Imperial Marhaba hotel in the city of Sousse, an assault for which ISIS has since claimed responsibility.
The bloody incident was witnessed by Hassene Kalambo, who rents out boats and jet skis at the Bellevue Park hotel next door to the Imperial Marhaba. Kalambo said he was one of several local hotel workers who came to the aid of beachgoers wounded in the assault.
"I saw when he [the gunman] shot the clients," he told NBC News.
Kalambo said he saw three people run into the ocean, as many panicked tourists did amid the hail of gunfire, and swim to a row of buoys. Kalambo jumped into his boat and drove out to the trio.
Seeing one of them had been shot through his chest and arm and was "bleeding heavily," he took him aboard and ferried him back to the hotel while the gunman was still at large.
The man, who the employee did not identify, was treated by a doctor and is now recovering in hospital, he said.
Kalambo said he was just one of several locals who took out their boats to help tourists who had fled into the sea.
Describing the scene, he said "it was horrible, I can't believe it happened." But he said the killer's apparent mood juxtaposed the scene. "He looked like he was taking a stroll on the beach," he added.
He also backed up other eyewitness claims that local hotel staff and tourism workers ran after the gunman — identified by Tunisia's Interior Ministry as 24-year-old student Seifeddine Rezgui — and shouted insults at the assailant.
"People were yelling insults at him to try to get a reaction to see if he would shoot them and if the Kalashnikov was empty," he said. "The only thing the shooter said was, 'Go away.'"
One person even threw building materials at the shooter from an upstairs balcony moments before he was killed by police, Kalambo added. He was knocked to the ground but got to his feet moments before his death, Kalambo said.
Tunisian officials have started making arrests, Tunisia's Interior Minister Mohamed Najem Gharsalli said Monday, but did not elaborate save to say that investigators were still working to identify accomplices and determine if the attacker had been trained in neighboring Libya.