School shoot­ing: 4 shot, 10 hurt, stu­dent ar­rested

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY'S TOP NEWS - By Elaine Ganley and Sylvie Corbet

A 16-year-old stu­dent who had trou­bled re­la­tions with his peers opened fire at a high school in south­ern France on Thurs­day, wound­ing at least two other stu­dents and the prin­ci­pal who tried to in­ter­vene, of­fi­cials said.

Po­lice moved into the Alexis de Toc­queville school in the town of Grasse — the coun­try’s pic­turesque per­fume cap­i­tal — and quickly ar­rested the still-armed sus­pect, iden­ti­fied by the In­te­rior Min­istry spokesman as Kil­lian Bar­bey.

The gov­ern­ment min­is­ter for vic­tims’ af­fairs, Juli­ette Meadel, told BFM tele­vi­sion there were 4 peo­ple shot — three stu­dents and the high school prin­ci­pal— and 10 other vic­tims.

The Grasse pros­e­cu­tor said some of the vic­tims were suf­fer­ing from “emo­tional shock.” None of the in­juries was con­sid­ered life threat­en­ing.

Pros­e­cu­tor Fa­bi­enne At­zori said the young man — armed with a ri­fle, sev­eral pis­tols and a small grenade — en­tered a class­room then left, “not find­ing the per­son or peo­ple he was search­ing for.”

“The mo­ti­va­tion of the stu­dent ap­pears linked to bad re­la­tions with other stu­dents in this high school in which it ap­pears he had some dif­fi­culty in­te­grat­ing,” At­zori said.

She said there was no rea­son to sus­pect the shoot­ings were ter­ror­ism-re­lated, “what­ever the ori­gin of the ter­ror­ist en­ter­prise.”

A na­tional po­lice of­fi­cial said ear­lier there did not ap­pear to be any other sus­pects.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors were now try­ing to find out where the sus­pect got the arms, she said.

Of­fi­cials var­i­ously gave 16 and 17 as the age of the sus­pect. His Face­book page in­di­cates he is 16.

After the sus­pect started shoot­ing, stu­dents alerted the prin­ci­pal, who was wounded while “coura­geously” in­ter­ven­ing, the pros­e­cu­tor said. Some stu­dents only dis­cov­ered shrap­nel in their bod­ies once home, she said.

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Na­jat Val­laud-Belka­cem, who vis­ited the school Thurs­day, called it “the crazy act of a frag­ile young man fas­ci­nated by firearms ... We just missed the worst.”

The sus­pect’s Face­book is filled with vi­o­lent or gory im­ages.

Dur­ing the at­tack, some stu­dents hid at the school and oth­ers were evac­u­ated. A po­lice he­li­copter cir­cled over­head in what is nor­mally a rel­a­tively quiet cor­ner of France.

Po­lice cor­doned off the area and wor­ried res­i­dents gath­ered out­side in the town, which is 25 miles from the south­ern city of Nice, site of last year’s Bastille Day ter­ror at­tack that killed 86 peo­ple.

The pres­i­dent of the re­gion, Chris­tian Estrosi, said the prin­ci­pal suf­fered an arm wound and told him that after be­ing alerted to the pres­ence of the armed stu­dent, “he tried to in­ter­pose ... to try to calm him, and un­for­tu­nately he didn’t suc­ceed.”

Stu­dent Char­lotte Camel, 18, said she was in the school li­brary when “a teacher ran into the room shout­ing, ‘There’s some­one with a gun, go hide!’ That’s what we did from the very be­gin­ning.”

“We all very much pan­icked. I thought a lot about the other stu­dents in my class who were in class and I wan­dered if they were OK. I thought about my friends and the teach­ers, too,” Camel said.

The at­tack came amid France’s state of emer­gency, a re­sponse to a string of deadly Is­lamic ex­trem­ist at­tacks over the past two years.

While no ter­ror­ism link has been iden­ti­fied, “all this jus­ti­fies the state of emer­gency,” Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande said, adding that it would re­main in place un­til July 15, as planned.

PHILIPPE FARJON / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Po­lice of­fi­cers take po­si­tions after an at­tack Thurs­day at a high school in the town of Grasse in south­ern France. A stu­dent, 16, who had trou­bled re­la­tions with his peers, opened fire, of­fi­cials said.

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