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CRIME

Disgruntled patient kills dentist in Marseille

A female dentist in the centre of Marseille was shot dead Tuesday by a 71-year-old patient who was himself killed during the subsequent police intervention.

Disgruntled patient kills dentist in Marseille
The Mediterranean city of Marseille where guncrime is an ongoing problem for authorities. Photo: britsinvade/flickr

Marseille deputy prosecutor Christophe Barret told reporters the pensioner had turned up at the surgery with two handguns, a pistol and a revolver.

He ordered a patient being treated by the dentist out of the treatment room and immediately opened fire on the dentist, a woman in her 50s.

The shots resulted in the building being evacuated and police called. The presumed killer of the dentist was shot dead after he fired twice at officers, raising fears for the safety of at least two people who were trapped in an adjacent room.

A police source said the man had been in dispute with the practice over an unpaid bill of around 100 euros.

Although it appeared to be an isolated incident, Tuesday's shooting will add to Marseille's notoriety for gun crime and will further hamper the 2013 European City of Culture's efforts to forge a new image as a vibrant tourist destination.

The dentist's surgery was located in a tower block close to the Place Castellane, a popular central square full of restaurants and bars.

At least four young men have been killed this month in execution-style shootings linked to rival gangs battling for control of the drugs trade in the southern port's rundown estates.

A total of 24 people died in similar circumstances during 2012, giving Marseille one of the highest murder rates in Europe and prompting calls from some politicians for the army to be sent in.

On Monday the Mayor of Marseille Jean-Claude Gaudin slammed the Socialist government in Paris for not investing enough money to help tackle Marseille's gun crime issue

On Monday the Mayor of Marseille Jean-Claude Gaudin slammed the Socialist government in Paris for not investing enough money to help tackle Marseille's gun crime issue.

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POLITICS

French minister apologises for Champions League chaos

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Tuesday made a partial apology for chaos at last month's Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool in Paris, while insisting fake tickets and "delinquency" were mostly to blame.

French minister apologises for Champions League chaos

“Should things have been managed better at the Stade de France (stadium)? The answer is yes. Am I partly responsible? The answer is yes,” Darmanin told RTL radio.

“Of course, I readily apologise towards everyone who suffered from this bad management of the event,” he added.

After scenes of fans crowded into tight spaces and being tear-gassed by police caused outrage around Europe, Darmanin poured fuel on the fire by blaming supporters with fake tickets for the disruption.

UEFA events director Martin Kallen last week told French senators investigating the fiasco that the football body’s count of fake tickets was far short of the tens of thousands claimed by French authorities.

“We don’t believe it’s the number mentioned in France,” he said, adding that 2,600 fake tickets were identified at turnstiles — compared with the number of 30,000 to 40,000 people with fake tickets and without tickets suggested by Darmanin.

“It was a question of fake tickets… that created the difficulties we all know about” of large crowds of fans packed into underpasses or outside locked gates, Darmanin insisted Tuesday.

He added that “if there was something that went wrong at the Stade de France, it was the fight against delinquency”, saying he had already ordered a reorganisation of policing around the venue and that three major matches since had passed without incident.

While some supporters did report being victims of crime by gangs of youths before and after the match, there were also many complaints about police treatment of fans.

Disabled Liverpool fans last week told the Senate how officers sprayed tear gas at people in wheelchairs.

The English supporters have reacted with particular fury to Darmanin’s defence of the French police’s actions.

“People’s memories will forever be tarred by the lack of organisation and heavy-handed policing, and then of course the way authorities tried to deflect blame and scapegoat Liverpool fans for their incompetence,” Liverpool mayor Steve Rotheram told AFP earlier this month.

CCTV footage from around the stadium has also been deleted despite the Senate probe.

A government report published earlier this month said a “chain of failures” by French authorities has inflicted “severe damage” on the image of the country as it prepares to host the Olympic Games in 2024.

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