A day after a violent stabbing assault that injured six folks, together with 4 kids, President Emmanuel Macron traveled to southeast France on Friday to satisfy with recovering victims and a bystander who has been hailed as “the backpack hero” after he tried to cease the assault by swinging his bag on the assailant.
Mr. Macron and his spouse, Brigitte, arrived at a hospital in Grenoble, about 60 miles south of Annecy, the Alpine metropolis the place a day earlier than a person with a switchblade knife went on a rampage, lunging at bystanders and households with strollers earlier than cops arrested him.
Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne mentioned on Friday that the youngsters, all 3 years outdated or youthful, had undergone surgical procedure and have been in secure situation.
The suspect was recognized by the French authorities as a homeless Syrian man who had obtained refugee standing in Sweden a decade in the past and arrived final fall in France, the place his software for asylum was rejected due to his current standing in Sweden.
People introduced flowers and lit candles at a makeshift memorial close to the lakeside park in Annecy the place the assault unfolded, a often peaceable spot the place vacationers and residents come to chill out and soak up views of the encompassing mountains.
After assembly with the victims and their households, Mr. Macron was scheduled to satisfy with a 24-year-old man recognized to the French public solely as Henri, who acquired widespread reward after he intervened within the assault.
Henri, who didn’t give his final title in interviews with the French media, advised BFMTV that he was within the park in Annecy, one in every of many stops on a nine-month hitchhiking journey to go to France’s cathedrals, when he noticed the assailant. He initially thought that the person was making an attempt to steal somebody’s purse, he mentioned, till he noticed him assault kids.
“That’s when your brain turns off and you act like an animal, by instinct,” Henri mentioned. “I didn’t even think.”
In harrowing video clips on social and mainstream media, Henri may be seen swinging a small black backpack on the assailant — a person carrying black garments, sun shades and a shawl round his head — and holding him at a distance. Other bystanders additionally tried to run after the attacker and help the injured kids, Henri mentioned.
When the person ran away, Henri dropped a bulkier, 40-pound bag that he was carrying on his again to remain in pursuit and continued to swing at him with the backpack. A metropolis worker carrying an extended plastic shovel additionally arrived, and he tried to chase away the assailant, Henri mentioned.
“You try to act as you can, with what you have available to you,” he mentioned.
In the video clips, the assailant may be heard saying, “In the name of Jesus Christ” in English earlier than working and lunging at folks with a knife.
French media reported that he had advised immigration authorities that he was a Christian and that he was carrying a cross on the time of the assault, and Gérald Darmanin, the French inside minister, advised TF1 tv on Thursday night that cops who rushed to the scene on Thursday had witnessed “religious signs, Christian signs.”
Henri, who mentioned he was a training Catholic, mentioned he stayed within the park to hope after the police arrested the assailant. “It’s profoundly anti-Christian to attack perfectly innocent” folks, he mentioned, including, “Anyone would have done what I did.”
The prosecutor’s workplace in Annecy mentioned that the suspect was nonetheless in custody and being questioned by the police. The case isn’t being handled as a terrorist incident, his motivations stay unclear.
The French authorities haven’t absolutely recognized the suspect, saying solely that he was a Syrian refugee who had obtained asylum in Sweden in 2013 and lived there for a decade earlier than leaving for southern Europe.
In an interview with the Agence France-Presse news company, the person’s mom, who lives within the United States, mentioned he had fled Syria in 2011 due to the civil battle there and had reached Sweden after touring by way of Turkey and Greece.
His ex-wife, additionally a Syrian refugee who obtained asylum in Sweden, advised the Agence France-Presse, that she met the person in Turkey, later marrying him and having a baby, however that he determined to depart Sweden final yr after failing to turn out to be a Swedish citizen.
The man arrived legally in France final October, Mr. Darmanin mentioned, however the French authorities rejected his asylum request on the grounds that he had already obtained refugee standing in Sweden. The man was notified of that rejection on Sunday, simply days earlier than the assault.
“It’s a troubling coincidence,” Mr. Darmanin mentioned.
The suspect had no prison file and had by no means been flagged by French safety providers, Mr. Darmanin mentioned, however cops briefly checked in on him final Sunday as a result of he was washing himself in Annecy’s lake. The man was anticipated to bear a psychiatric analysis on Friday.
Source web site: www.nytimes.com