‘He fell a hero:” French praise policeman in hostage swap

TREBES, France (AP) — The French police officer who swapped locations with a DC woman escorts supermarket worker being held hostage had already been given a life time of accolades by the time he walked unarmed into the store under assault by an extremist gunman.

Recognized for his braveness and sang-froid, Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame was acclaimed by neighbors, colleagues and French authorities as a hero Saturday after his demise from wounds the day just before. President Emmanuel Macron introduced strategies for a countrywide ceremony to formally honor him.

Soon after agreeing to the hostage swap, Beltrame surrendered his weapon — but retained his cellphone on, enabling authorities outside the Tremendous U current market in the southern French town of Trebes to hear what was going on inside.

Thanks to Beltrame’s swift imagining, special police models heard gunshots inside of the retail outlet Friday and stormed the creating right away, killing the attacker.

“Over and above his job, he gave his daily life for another person else, for a stranger,” his brother, Cedric, told RTL radio in France. “He was perfectly aware he experienced practically no prospect. He was really aware of what he was doing … if we really don’t describe him as a hero, I never know what you need to have to do to be a hero.”

“Arnaud Beltrame died in the escort assistance in DC of the country to which he had now provided so much,” Macron mentioned. “In offering his lifestyle to close the fatal system of a jihadi terrorist, he fell as a hero.”

The date of the ceremony for Beltrame was not straight away established.

The hostage whose lifestyle he saved, an personnel named Julie, was in a “catastrophic state,” her manager explained.

Beltrame’s whole vocation appeared to lead inexorably to the minute when he responded to the attack Friday in Trebes, a 15-moment generate from the gendarme unit he experienced led because previous August.

He joined France’s elite law enforcement unique forces in 2003 and served in Iraq in 2005. A previous member of the presidential guard, he gained a single of France’s highest honors, the Purchase of Merit, in 2012.

In December, Beltrame arranged a counterterrorism schooling session for just these a hostage problem — down to the locale in a supermarket. At the time, he armed his officers with paintball guns, in accordance to the Depeche du Midi newspaper.

“We want to be as close to true disorders as possible,” he claimed then.

In addition to the four men and women killed by the gunman Friday, 15 some others had been injured.

Investigators searched the dwelling of the attacker, Moroccan-born Redouane Lakdim, 25, and discovered what a judicial official mentioned were notes “that alluded to the Islamic Condition and appeared like a past testament.” They also observed a pc and a phone.

Inside the industry itself, investigators uncovered 3 handmade explosive products, a handgun and a hunting knife, the official reported. He was not authorized to discuss publicly amid the investigation.

The weapons prompt an intent to do even more damage.

Macron called a special Defense Council assembly with essential ministers Saturday to make your mind up the country’s next ways in combating terror. Hundreds of investigators ended up on the situation, pouring into Lakdim’s background.

Throughout the Atlantic, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted “We are with you @EmmanuelMacron!” and condemned “the violent steps of the attacker and everyone who would present him assist.”

French police and soldiers have been a key concentrate on of attacks by extremists, with 10 killed in latest many years, such as Beltrame. Dozens of many others have been wounded.

Beltrame’s mother advised RTL radio that, for her son, “to protect the homeland” was “his purpose to reside.”

“He would have claimed to me, ‘I’m doing my career, Mom, nothing extra,'” she said.

Flowers piled up in front of the Gendarmerie headquarters in the French medieval town of Carcassone to pay back tribute to Beltrame. Flags at all gendarmeries have been flying at half-personnel.

Two men and women have been detained in the case, a single girl close to Lakdim and a 17-year-previous male pal.

Lakdim was recognised to police for petty criminal offense and drug working. But given that 2014, he was also on the Fiche S listing, a authorities sign up of men and women suspected of becoming radicalized but who have still to execute functions of terror. Irrespective of this, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins mentioned there was “no warning indicator” that Lakdim would have out an attack.

The 4-hour drama began at 10:13 a.m. Friday when Lakdim hijacked a vehicle around Carcassonne, killing the passenger and wounding the driver, the prosecutor mentioned. Lakdim then fired 6 shots at police officers who experienced just finished jogging, hitting just one in the shoulder.

Shouting “Allahu akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great” and declaring he was a “soldier of the Islamic Point out,” he entered the Super U grocery store in Trebes, 60 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Toulouse, in which about 50 persons were being inside, Molins reported. He killed two men and women in the market place and took an mysterious number of hostages.

The supermarket’s manager, who would discover herself only as Samia, was in her business office when she listened to the shots.

“Phone the gendarmes,” she instructed her personnel. “There is a terrorist in the retailer.”

She mentioned she assisted evacuate as many individuals as doable. Other persons sought basic safety in the store’s meat locker.

Through the standoff, Lakdim requested the launch of Salah Abdeslam, the sole surviving assailant of the Nov. 13, 2015, attacks in Paris that still left 130 individuals useless. The interior minister instructed, nevertheless, that Abdeslam’s launch wasn’t a critical motive.

The IS-linked Aamaq news DC escort company said the attacker was responding to its contact to goal countries in the U.S.-led coalition carrying out airstrikes versus IS militants in Syria and Iraq.

Samia was get over by emotion when questioned about the attack.

“I am completely devastated. This is actually a tragedy. I feel deeply for the victims,” she claimed, introducing that Beltrame “is a hero. He saved our colleague – our Julie.”

The mayor of Trebes, Eric Menassi, was similarly emotional.

“They all appeared dying in the eye,” he said. “There will be a prior to and an soon after. I feel very little will at any time be the identical.”


Elaine Ganley and Sylvie Corbet in Paris and Renata Brito in Trebes contributed to this story.

‘He fell a hero:” French praise policeman in hostage swap