A man in his twenties was fatally injured on Wednesday by French gendarmes, after killing five members of his blended family in a house in Dover (central-eastern France), where he had been entrenched since Tuesday evening.
The suspect was armed with a rifle and a katana (Japanese sword) and “would have suffered from psychiatric disorders”, according to the local prosecutor's office who has not yet specified the age of the victims, nor their precise links with the author of the killing.
According to the mayor of the town, Christian Limousin, there are two adults and three children.
“The negotiators tried to get in touch with him all night, in vain, and the assault was launched in the morning,” said this source.
The madman, “refugee in a closed room in the pavilion, his torso and limbs covered with protections”, was “determined”, said the public prosecutor, Christophe Rode, in a press release.
“Despite several warnings addressed to this individual to lay down his arms and despite having an electric pulse pistol, the madman pointed his weapons and advanced in the direction of the gendarmes who then used their weapons on four occasions, causing thus serious injuries”, added the magistrate.
The emergency services tried to revive him but he died twenty minutes later. Five people, members of a blended family of which he was a member, were found dead in the house.
According to the prosecution, which opened an investigation into intentional homicides, the local gendarmerie was alerted overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday – in particular by the perpetrator himself, according to a source familiar with the matter.
A second investigation will focus on the use of their weapons by the gendarmes of the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN).
According to Christian Limousin, the mayor of the small town where the tragedy took place, located about a hundred kilometers west of Geneva, this family had lived in the house since July 2020 and “began to invest in the village” .
An acquaintance of the victims said on the spot that the perpetrator of the killing was 22 years old and worked in a fast food restaurant in a nearby town.
“This morning in 8:30 a.m., the gendarmes asked me not to open my bar,” Tania, a 30-year-old who has run the village café since March, told AFP. “The mother of one of the victims called me to tell me that she had not been able to reach her daughter since yesterday,” added the shopkeeper.
A hundred gendarmes, including members from the GIGN, and criminal investigation technicians were on the scene.
This tragedy is one of the deadliest family killings in France in recent years. In October 2020, a father killed his wife, two children and two nephews in Noisy-le-Sec, in the Paris suburbs. A double parricide was committed in the Basque Country in 2016 by a 24-year-old man, who also tried to kill his brother.