"Cruel" gunman filmed French school carnage: minister
TOULOUSE - Reuters
French police stand guard as they provide security outside the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school a day after the shooting in Toulouse, southwestern France, March 20, 2012. Reuters photo
The gunman who
shot dead three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school was a cold,
cruel killer who filmed his carnage, France's interior minister said, as
the country prepared to hold a silent tribute to the victims on
Claude Gueant told reporters
video surveillance tapes at the school in Toulouse showed the gunman was
recording his shooting spree with a small video camera attached to his
"This adds another element to
the profile of the killer. It is someone who is cruel enough to record
it," Gueant said at a primary school in the southwestern city.
shows a profile of the murderer as someone who is very cold, very
determined, with precise gestures, and therefore very cruel," Gueant
The school attack, and the
killing of three soldiers last week, has stunned France and prompted
President Nicolas Sarkozy and other leading candidates to suspend
campaigning for next month's presidential election.
than 200 police officers have joined the hunt for the gunman, who is
the prime suspect in the killing of three paratroopers in two separate
shootings last week in Toulouse and the nearby town of Montauban, to the
Gueant said police were
pursuing several leads into the attacks, which shared a number features.
In each attack, the gunman arrived on a stolen scooter and used a Colt
security tightened in Toulouse, with guards posted at religious sites
and the terror alert raised to its highest level in Toulouse and the
"We will track
down this monster. We will find him, bring him to justice and punish
him," Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said of the killer on France 2
A child who survived the attack spoke of his feelings of terror as the shots rang out through the school.
were getting ready for prayers when the principal stormed in and
screamed that there was a shooting. I panicked and fled to the old
canteen and heard the shots, but saw nothing," an 11-year old boy who
survived the attack told France Info radio.
thought he was going to come in any minute and finish us all. Then I
waited and waited and then my daddy came to get me," he said.
have not named a suspect but are searching the city of around one
million for a man they believed could be a trained marksman, as well as
the Yamaha scooter he used to flee. The shooter's face was hidden by a
motorcycle helmet during the attack.
President Nicolas Sarkozy, who said on Monday the school killings
appeared to be motivated by racism, was due to attend a one minute
silent vigil at 1100 a.m. (1000 GMT) in a Paris secondary school.
Schools in all of France will observe a minute of silence.
the entrance to the school, a five-floor brick building in a leafy
residential neighborhood, residents and parents left floral tributes and
candles in memory of the victims.
bodies of three of the victims, who had dual French and Israeli
nationality, were expected to be sent to Israel but no details were
available about the timing.
shooting was the most deadly anti-Semitic attack on French soil in
nearly 30 years. In August, 1982, six people were killed in a combined
grenade and gun attack at the Goldenberg restaurant in Paris' Marais
exists in France, we have fought it for years," Juppe said. He said
Jewish organizations had complained about an increase in anti-Semitic
incidents recently, but rejected suggestions racial tensions stirred
during the campaign could have triggered the attacks.
"Nobody should try to benefit in any way from this drama, which is in no way linked to the electoral campaign," Juppe said.
who is seeking re-election in a two-round election in April and May,
said he would suspend his campaign until Wednesday. Far-right chief
Marine Le Pen, trailing frontrunner Hollande and Sarkozy, also made a
head of the Fondapol politics institute, said the killings could
transform the election campaign, five weeks before polling day.
"The tone of the campaign cannot go back to what it was," he told Reuters. "The campaign was dominated by an aggressive tone and a strong degree of populist rhetoric. This rhetoric will cease because there will be voter demand for healing."