Written by Nathasha De Alwis
24 Mar, 2018 | 7:15 pm
French police officer Lt-Col Arnaud Beltrame who was hailed as a hero yesterday (March 23) when he persuaded an armed man to allow himself to take place of the woman he held as a human shield, passed away earlier today (March 24).
The officer passed away as a result of injuries he sustained yesterday (March 23) becoming the gunman’s fourth victim.
In a statement, French President Emmanuel Macron praised the ‘exceptional courage’ of Beltrame. Whilst Interior Minister Gérard Collomb hailed him for his “heroism and courage.”
The violence began yesterday (March 23) morning in Carcassone, France where 25-year-old Redouane Lakdim hijacked a car, killing the passenger and injuring the driver.
Lakdim is believed to have driven a few kilometers to the small town of Trebes, where he entered the Super-U supermarket and yelled: “I am a soldier of Daesh (Islamic State)!”
He went on to kill a customer and a store employee before taking hostages.
Interior Minister Gérard Collomb told reporters that police officers had managed to get some people out but the gunman had held one woman back as a human shield.
It was at this point, Lt-Col Arnaud Beltrame, had volunteered to take the place of the hostage and left his mobile phone on a table with an open line so the police could monitor the situation.
When police heard gunshots, a tactical team stormed the supermarket to find officer Arnaud Beltrame seriously injured and Redouane Lakdim dead.
Redouane Lakdim, a French national, was born in April 1992 in Morocco.
Prosecutor Francois Molins said he had been on an extremist watch-list due to “his radicalisation and links with the Salafist movement”, a hardline offshoot of Sunni Islam.
But according to the prosecutor, subsequent investigations by intelligence services had not turned up any indication he would commit acts of terror.
Further, he stated that Lakdim was found guilty of carrying a prohibited weapon in 2011 and was convicted for drug use and refusing a court order in 2015.
Earlier, Minister Collomb said that though he had been known to authorities as a petty criminal, they “did not think he had been radicalised”.
Lakdim lived in an apartment in Carcassonne with his parents and sisters. A neighbour had seen him taking one of his sisters to school yesterday (March 23) morning.
The family’s apartment was raided by police yesterday (March 23) afternoon.
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