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his attacker, a schizophrenic on file for radicalization, “wanted to attack the gendarmes”

A municipal policewoman was seriously injured with a knife on Friday in La Chapelle-sur-Erdre, near Nantes, and the man suspected of this attack, a schizophrenic on file for radicalization and “reported for a rigorous practice of Islam”, is deceased, said the Minister of the Interior.

“The municipal police officer was courageous and knew how to protect herself with the means she had and despite her serious injuries she will survive and that is a very good thing”, declared Gérald Darmanin during a press briefing in this municipality. located north of Nantes.

After the assault on the premises of the municipal police at around 9.45 am, the assailant “fled”, explained Gérald Darmanin, stressing that 250 gendarmes were mobilized to arrest the individual, in a context marked by an increase in attacks on the police.

Investigation opened for forcible confinement

During his escape, the attacker of the policewoman kidnapped a young woman for 2h30, announced the public prosecutor of Nantes, Pierre Sennès. “This criminal investigation entrusted to the research section is now supervised and directed by the Nantes prosecutor’s office”, declared Pierre Sennès during a press conference, specifying that “this situation is likely to evolve” if “a criminal qualification in connection with terrorism ”was retained as the investigation progressed.

The attacker had entered during his flight into the apartment of the young woman, from where he fired on the gendarmes on duty. The magistrate also indicated that the assailant, who died after an exchange of fire with the gendarmes, had before his run attacked another policeman in the premises of the municipal police, stabbing him, blocked by his bulletproof vest.

Once found, this man of forty years “obviously wanted to attack the gendarmes again”, and this “obviously” with the weapon of the policewoman. The gendarmes “retaliated” and the man succumbed to his injuries, detailed Mr. Darmanin.

According to an AFP photographer present at the scene, a dozen detonations rang out near the gendarmerie brigade, in a residential area. About twenty GIGN gendarmes armed with shields, helmets, held their weapons at target behind garbage cans, in the bushes …

Radicalized and schizophrenic

“This French individual born in France, (…) is known to the police, was released from prison and in 2016 he was reported for a rigorous practice of Islam for radicalization and thus registered in the FSPRT file” signals for the prevention of terrorist radicalization), said Mr. Darmanin.

According to a source familiar with the matter, the man, imprisoned in March 2013, was mainly serving an eight-year prison sentence pronounced by the North Assize Court on October 7, 2015 for aggravated theft and forcible confinement. He was released on March 22. When he left, the socio-judicial follow-up to which he had been sentenced in 2015 was put in place immediately, in particular the obligation of care. He was diagnosed as schizophrenic.

According to a source familiar with the matter, “Radicalization in prison is strongly linked to psychiatric illness. The assailant’s radicalized moments would have taken place during episodes of decompensation linked to his psyche disease ”.

The Nantes public prosecutor is due to hold a press conference at 8:30 p.m. According to a source familiar with the matter, “at this stage there are no investigations of witnesses to the attack evoking a possible claim by the assailant which would suggest an act with a terrorist dimension”.

The former lawyer of the aggressor, Me Vincent de la Morandière, who defended him in several cases, explained to AFP “to have seen a psychological degradation as the incarceration progresses. At one point it became difficult to discuss with him ”.

In La Chapelle-sur-Erdre, a neighbor describes him as someone “very discreet, polite”, knowing that “he had been living there for two months”. Another neighbor, Gérard, describing him as “nice”, however noticed that “yesterday he looked pissed off”.

According to another neighbor on the second floor, who sold him a car, “he was very quiet, but you could hear him talking to himself at night.” “I knew he had been in prison, he had told me that he had psychological problems. He lived alone and had no visitors, he told me he had a child ”.

Targeted officials

This attack comes a little over a month after that of Rambouillet (Yvelines), during which a police officer was killed with a knife in the throat by a man, shot dead by a police officer, in the police station.

Many political figures, of different sensibilities, have condemned this aggression, including the Prime Minister. “My first thoughts go to the municipal policewoman who was seriously injured: she has my full support and I want to express to her the solidarity of the whole Government,” Jean Castex said on Twitter.

Several members of the security forces have been killed since 2012 in France in attacks, most often committed in the name of jihad.

On October 3, 2019, a computer scientist working at the Intelligence Directorate, Mickaël Harpon, who has converted to Islam for ten years, stabbed to death three police officers and an administrative agent in the precincts of the Paris police headquarters. before being killed.

Previously, the Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the death in March 2018 of lieutenant-colonel of the gendarmerie Arnaud Beltrame, 45, fatally injured by the jihadist Radouane Lakdim in a supermarket in Trèbes (Aude) and of the police officer Xavier Jugelé in April 2017 on the Champs-Elysées.

In June 2016, a police officer and his companion, secretary at the Mantes-la-Jolie police station, were stabbed to death in Magnanville (Yvelines) by a man claiming to act on behalf of ISIS.

At the beginning of May, Eric Masson, 36, called with his team for a gathering on a deal point in the city center of Avignon, had been shot dead by a man who is now imprisoned.

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