Officials: Airport attacker was drunk
Toxicology tests also found traces of cocaine and pot in blood of suspected militant
PARIS — Blood tests determined Sunday that a suspected Islamic extremist consumed drugs and alcohol before a frenzied spree of violence that ended when he took a soldier hostage at Paris’ Orly Airport and was shot dead by her fellow patrolmen.
The Paris prosecutors’ office said toxicology tests conducted as part of an autopsy found traces of cocaine and cannabis in the blood of Ziyed Ben Belgacem.
He also had 0.93 grams of alcohol per liter of blood when he died Saturday, the prosecutors’ office said. That is nearly twice the legal limit for driving in France.
The 39-year-old Frenchman with a long criminal record of drug and robbery offenses stopped at a bar in the wee hours Saturday morning, around four hours before he first fired bird shot at traffic police. Then, 90 minutes later, he attacked the military patrol at Orly, causing panic and the shutdown of the French capital’s second-biggest airport.
Yelling that he wanted to kill and die for Allah, Belgacem wrestled away a soldier’s assault rifle but was shot to death by two other soldiers before he could fire the military-grade weapon, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said.
In an interview Sunday with French radio Europe 1, a man identified as the suspect’s father said Belgacem wasn’t a practicing Muslim and drank alcohol.
“My son was never a terrorist. He never attended prayer. He drank,” the man said. “But under the effects of alcohol and cannabis, this is where one ends up.”
The Orly attack disrupted airport operations and further rattled France, which remains under a state of emergency after attacks the past two years that have killed 235 people.
Soldiers were on guard Saturday at Orly Airport after a man grabbed a soldier’s rifle.