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French mayor held after 'shooting' at youth mob

Ben McPartland · 15 Jul 2013, 18:44

Published: 15 Jul 2013 18:44 GMT+02:00

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The mayor of a small French town in eastern France was arrested by police at the weekend for firing his hunting rifle at a group of youths who had confronted him after setting off fireworks outside his home.

According to reports in the regional newspaper Est Republicain, one of the youths was left hospitalized after being hit in the leg after a ricochet.

The drama began on night of Saturday July 13, the eve of France’s Bastille day, when Alain Tharon, 62, the mayor of Fossieux and his wife were woken by firecrackers being let off outside his house.

It is common in France’s for fireworks and firecrackers to be let off in the run up to Bastille Day and many villages and towns held official celebrations and firework shows on Saturday night. But these youths were apparently in no mood for celebration.

According to Est Republicain three young men, who may have been drunk started banging and kicking at the doors and windows of the mayor’s home and his car. It then appears that the mayor confronted the mob from his window.

It is believed the youths told him to come outside “for a fight” and a few moments later he appeared at the front door. However he was not standing with his sleeves rolled up ready to go toe-to-toe, instead he held aloft a hunting rifle, cocked and aimed.

In the hope of scaring away the youths the mayor fired a warning shot into the ground, but to his shock one of them slumped to the ground after apparently having been hit in the leg, Est Republicain reports.

It is not clear whether he was hit by the bullet or a piece of shrapnel. The youth was taken to hospital, where his condition was not believed to be serious.

The mayor has reportedly claimed he was simply trying to defend his home and the lives of him and his wife. He is set to appear in court on August 20 accused of committing "assault with a weapon".

It is not the first time in recent memory in France that a group of troublesome youths got more than they bargained for after infuriating a local resident with their antics.

Story continues below…

In April The Local reported how a pensioner in the town of Blois, central France used more than a brush to take on a group of teenagers, who were making a racket outside her apartment.

To the shock of the youngsters the 81-year-old woman opened fire on them with a rifle.

She was arrested after admitting to police that she had fire shots from a rifle, but she denied having aimed at the boys, according to French daily Le Parisien.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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