NOT A TERRORIST’
after a scuffle.
His father insisted his son, who had spent time in prison for armed robbery and drug-dealing, was not an extremist.
“My son was not a terrorist. He never prayed, he drank,” the father, who was in shock and whose first name was not given, told Europe 1 radio, blaming “drink and President Paul Kagame.
“He implored anew God’s forgiveness for the sins and failings of the Church and its members, among whom priests and religious men and women who succumbed to hatred and violence, betraying their own evangelical mission,” it said.
Francis’s pardon plea followed a request from Rwanda in November for the church to apologise for its role in cannabis” for his son’s actions.
An autopsy was due to be carried out on Belgacem’s body on Sunday to determine if he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Investigators were also examining his telephone.
The attack at Orly comes with France on high alert following a wave of jihadist attacks that had the massacres.
Since the genocide, whose victims were mostly from the Tutsi minority, the Catholic Church has been accused of being close to the Hutu extremist regime in power in 1994.
A number of churches became scenes of mass killings as Hutu militiamen found people seeking refuge in them, sometimes turned over by priests, with no way out. AFP claimed more than 230 lives in two years. The violence had made security a key issue in France’s two-round presidential election on April 23 and May 7.
Belgacem’s brother and cousin were released on Sunday after they, like the his father, were held for questioning.
They had approached police themselves on Saturday after the attack.
After spending Friday night in a bar with his cousin, Belgacem was pulled over by police for speeding in the gritty northern suburb of Garges-lesGonesse, where he lived, just before 7am.
He drew a gun and fired, slightly injuring one officer. Shortly after, he contacted his relatives to tell them he had “done something stupid”, they told police.
Belgacem appeared at the bar where he had been the previous night, firing more shots and stealing a car before continuing on to the airport.
His father told Europe 1 his son had called him after the first police shooting “in a state of extreme agitation”.
“He said to me: ‘Daddy, please forgive me. I’ve screwed up with a police officer’.”
At the time of his death, Belgacem was carrying a petrol can in his backpack, as well as €750 (RM5,600) in cash, a copy of the Quran, a packet of cigarettes and a lighter.
A small amount of cocaine and a machete were found at his home on Saturday. AFP
Pope Francis (centre) with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his wife, Jeannette, at the Vatican yesterday.