The French National Police announced the death of three police officers in a rural part of Central France.
A fourth officer sustained serious injuries. The country’s Interior ministry confirmed the incident that happened on Tuesday night in which the officers responded to a call on domestic violence.
François Chautard, the mayor of Saint-Just pointed out how the incident started with a family dispute. Armed officers were sent to secure the nearby area and evacuate neighboring residents.
According to France's interior minister, the officers were gunned down by a 48-year-old suspect who was later found dead. French Prime Minister Jean Castex tweeted words of support for the loved ones of the gendarmes, promising “unwavering support”.
AFP reported that the woman involved made an escape attempt by climbing onto a roof. Two of the officers who lost their lives were shot by the heavily armed suspect as they made tried to rescue the woman. One died immediately while the other sustained serious injury. The suspect then set the whole house ablaze. He later fired at police reinforcements, killing two officers.
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AFP reports that firefighters managed to reach the two officers after several minutes of battling the fire. The French Interior ministry revealed the ages of the deceased officers who lost their lives at 21, 37, and 45. Police took in the rescued woman for questioning. Word on the shooter’s past shows a history of child custody incidents. Attacks on police officers using firearms are very uncommon in France.
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Trois de nos gendarmes ont été tués cette nuit, alors qu'ils étaient engagés pour protéger et sauver.
Ce drame nous touche tous et endeuille le pays tout entier.
Je partage la douleur de leurs proches et de leurs frères d'armes et les assure de mon indéfectible soutien.
— Jean Castex (@JeanCASTEX) December 23, 2020