French school shooting: Teen with guns and grenades opens fire

  • 17/03/2017

Three people have been injured in a shooting at a high school in the small southern French town of Grasse, the interior ministry says, and a 17-year old student carrying a rifle, handguns and grenades was arrested.

"I heard four shots," one student told local media.

"It was total panic, people started to run. Then the police arrived, it was like a film. People hid and we didn't know who was still alive, who was injured. It was anarchy."

The attack by the 17-yar-old student was "a crazy act by a fragile young man fascinated by firearms," Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem says.

Vallaud-Belkacem was visiting the town of Grasse where the teenage student opened fire on Thursday, injuring several people including the headmaster - in an attack carried out after he had watched American-style mass shooting videos.

The student was carrying a rifle, handguns and grenades was arrested, the interior ministry and police sources said.

"The individual does not seem to be known by police," one police source said.

Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told France Inter radio that three people had been injured, and advised families to remain patient as police took control to stabilise the situation. He had earlier told BFM TV eight were injured.

He said checks were underway on the possibility of a second assailant.

The incident comes with France in a state of emergency after several militants attacks over the last year. It is less than six weeks away from a presidential election in which security and fears of terrorism are among key issues.

An eye-witness student in the school interviewed by France Inter radio said the students had heard a bang and taken cover under the tables.

"I went to close the windows and saw a guy who looked at me in the eyes. He seemed to be a student and not very big. He shot in the air and ran away," the student said without giving his name.

Local emergency services advised residents on Twitter to stay at home. The government launched its mobile telephone application warning of a "terrorist" attack.

A source said it appeared that two students had opened fire on the headmaster, who had been injured, adding that the suspects did not seem to be militants.

"One of the two was arrested and the second fled. There was panic and the students took refuge in the (neighbouring) supermarket," said the source.

Another police source it was not yet possible to confirm if there was a second shooter.

Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told BFM TV that three people had been injured and five more were treated for shock, and advised families to remain patient as police took control to stabilise the situation.

The incident comes with France in a state of emergency after several militants attacks over the last year. It is less than six weeks away from a presidential election in which security and fears of terrorism are among key issues.

An eye-witness student in the school interviewed by France Inter radio said the students had heard a bang and taken cover under the tables.

"I went to close the windows and saw a guy who looked at me in the eyes. He seemed to be a student and not very big. He shot in the air and ran away," the student said.

Local emergency services advised residents on Twitter to stay at home. The government launched its mobile telephone application warning of a "terrorist" attack.

Reuters