Tests find drugs, alcohol in blood of Paris airport attacker
PARISThe man shot dead at Paris’s Orly airport on March 18 after attacking a soldier was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time, blood tests determined on March 19.
The Paris prosecutors’ office said toxicology tests conducted as part of an autopsy found traces of cocaine and cannabis in the blood of the suspect, Ziyed Ben Belgacem, The Associated Press reported.
He also had 0.93 grams of alcohol per liter of blood when he died on March 18, the prosecutors’ office said. That is nearly twice the legal limit for driving in France.
The 39-year-old Frenchman with a long criminal record of drugs and robbery offences stopped at a bar in the wee hours of the morning of March 18, around four hours before he first fired bird shot at traffic police. Then, 90 minutes later, he attacked the military patrol at Orly, causing panic and the shutdown of the French capital’s second-biggest airport.
Yelling that he wanted to kill and die for Allah, Belgacem wrestled away a soldier’s assault rifle but was shot to death by two other soldiers before he could fire the military-grade weapon in Orly’s busy South Terminal, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said.
In an interview on March 19 with French radio Europe 1, a man identified as the suspect’s father said Belgacem wasn’t a practicing Muslim and drank alcohol.
“My son was never a terrorist. He never attended prayer. He drank. But under the effects of alcohol and cannabis, this is where one ends up,” said the father. Europe 1 did not give his name.
The father was released from police custody overnight on March 18. Belgacem’s brother and a cousin were released later on March 19.