• France's news in English

Man kills himself in front of Paris school pupils

The Local/AFP · 16 May 2013, 13:02

Published: 16 May 2013 13:02 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Initial reports suggest that the man entered from the street and walked in to the assembly hall of the La Rochefoucauld primary school late on Thursday morning.

The man, who was not affiliated with the school, forced his way into the institution in central Paris at 11:30 am, pushing aside two adults who tried to stop him, Francois Weil, the city's top educational official said.

The man, who police sources said had a history of family violence, was in an agitated state.

He had some papers with him and a sawn-off shotgun, which he then fired from under his jaw. A part of his face was blown off in front of around a dozen children and one adult.

It is not believed that the man was affiliated with the school as a teacher, staff member or parent.

Some of the children who witnessed the man shoot himself in the head described the ordeal to French media.

"I heard a pistol shot I saw all the blood I also saw that the gentleman:... He fell back when he killed himself. It was horrible," one young girl told Europe1 radio.

Another boy from the nursery said: "I heard the gunshot. They said he had to hide and get away. There were many people who cried like me.

"I was very scared. I thought they were terrorists who had guns and would come into the school. I was behind and I saw the man who was on the floor with all the blood," he told Europe1.

With the school being situated on a busy Paris street, several people witnessed the panic in the aftermath of the terrifying incident.

"I saw a group of children who ran screaming into the street Rue de Grenelle. They were howling. Obviously there was something that had shocked them," a woman named Fabienne, who lives across the street from the school, told Europe1 radio.

Another woman, who works across the street from the nursery school said: "There are people who said that it was like a bomb. Nobody knows any more. There are police and firefighters everywhere."

Police have opened an official investigation into the suicide but so far have not identified the man nor the reasons that prompted him to take his own life at the school.

A psychological support team has been sent to the school to help comfort the children and member of staff who witnessed the shocking incident.

The mother of a student criticised security measures at the school, saying there was only one woman who monitored and controlled visitors to the school.

Story continues below…

"Blood had to spill before security measures were undertaken," she told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The school remained closed on Thursday afternoon with police having cordoned off the whole street.

France's Education Minister Vincent Peillon was returning from Brussels to visit the school and the Paris police commissioner and the mayor of the 7th arrondissement were on their way to the site.

The La Rochefoucauld primary is a private, Catholic school serving children as young as three years of age, and is located on Rue Cler in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, close to both the French parliament and American University of Paris.

*Original reports included in this article said the man had shot himself at a nursery school

The Local/AFP (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available