Days ago, Redouane Lakdim (who was on a watch list as an ISIS-inspired terrorist)) hijacked a car. Then, Lakdim fired at a group of police officers jogging, injuring one. Then, he drove to a nearby supermarket, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” and eventually killed at least one employee, a customer, and took the rest hostage.
Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame traded himself for a female hostage… and he died as a result of this.
he entered the supermarket unarmed but made sure to leave his cell phone on so his fellow officers could hear what was going on instead — eventually, they heard gunshots and France’s version of SWAT stormed the location, killing Lakdim.
What did Lakdim want? According to BFMTV, the suspect had been identified by French law enforcement, and that he was known to them. The station said the gunman was demanding the release of Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of the group accused of attacking a concert venue and other locations in Paris in the November 2015 attacks which left 130 people dead.
From the BBC:
“He gave his life for strangers. He must have known that he didn’t really have a chance. If that doesn’t make him a hero, I don’t know what would,” Col Arnaud’s brother Cedric told a French radio station on Saturday.
Speaking to the BBC, Col Arnaud’s cousin Florence Nicolic described the officer as a person who was “so good at his job”.
“Even though we were surprised and shocked when we heard what happened we were not surprised in the sense that that’s the thing he would do without hesitation,” Ms Nicolic said.
French President Emmanuel Macron also paid tribute to the officer, saying that Col Arnaud “fell as a hero” after showing “exceptional courage and selflessness”, adding that he deserved “the respect and admiration of the whole nation”.
UK PM Theresa May said the “sacrifice and courage” of the police officer would not be forgotten.
This hero has been honored. Flags at French police stations around the country were flown at half-mast in Beltrame’s honor.
He had previously served in Iraq in 2006 where he won a Cross for Military Valour.