TREBES, France — The Latest on the deadly shooting attack Friday in southern France (all times local):
The chief of France’s National Gendarmerie says that the swift intervention of the team trained by the officer who was killed after swapping himself for a hostage during an Islamic extremist attack at a supermarket prevented more deaths.
Almost eerily, Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame, to be formally celebrated as a hero, trained gendarmes last year for an attack situation in a supermarket — like the attack on Friday that killed Beltrame.
Gen. Richard Lizurey, visiting the southern town of Carcassonne where Beltrame was based, said Sunday the training of the team that intervened in the supermarket in nearby Trebes proved vital.
Beltrame, he said, was “in reality preparing his troops for this kind of incident” and rapid action “prevented more victims.”
Three people, including Beltrame, were killed in the supermarket attack while a fourth person was killed earlier during a carjacking. The Morocco-born gunman was killed by police who stormed the supermarket.
U.S. President Donald Trump says on Twitter the deadly shooting in southern France shows the need for stronger measures in the fight against the Islamic State group, including border security.
Trump tweets “France honors a great hero,” citing the bravery of police officer Arnaud Beltrame who died after “swapping places with hostage in ISIS related terror attack.”
He says there’s “so much bravery around the world” in the fight against IS but adds, “Even stronger measures needed, especially at borders!”
Four people were killed in the attack Friday, including Beltrame. A church service in the town of Trebes was honoring the victims.
A French bishop has paid tribute to a heroic police officer who lost his life after swapping himself with a supermarket employee in a hostage situation, saying his sacrifice helped save the nation.
Survivors and families of the four victims of Friday’s spree of attacks by an Islamist extremist packed the Saint-Etienne-de-Trebes church for Sunday’s special Mass honoring Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame.
Members of the region’s Muslim community were among those mourning at the special Palm Sunday service in Trebes, in southern France, near Carcassonne, a Medieval tourist magnet. The manager of the supermarket sat in the front row, alongside her husband, the town mayor.
The bishop of Carcassonne and Narbonne, Alain Planet, hailed Beltrame’s “extraordinary act, extraordinary devotion,” saying “the whole of France has been touched by this.”