three French Gendarmes Killed After Responding to Studies of Home Abuse

PARIS – A gunman killed three police officers early Wednesday responding to reports of an episode of domestic violence in central France, a rare outbreak of deadly violence against French security forces. The shooter was later found dead.

The officers had been called on the scene in a remote hamlet near Saint-Just, a small town in the Puy-de-Dôme region of France, about 50 miles southeast of Clermont-Ferrand, to help a woman who was killed by her partner was beaten, according to the French interior ministry.

The man shot the officers as they arrived, killing a first officer identified by the ministry as Arno Mavel, 21, and wounding a second in the thigh. The man also shot two other officers as they approached the house. Both, identified by the ministry as Cyrille Morel, 45, and Rémi Dupuis, 37, were killed.

The attack on the gendarmes resulted in a swift conviction. “To protect us, our armed forces risk their lives,” said President Emmanuel Macron of the officials on Twitter. “They are our heroes.”

The officers were members of the French gendarmerie – the force that oversees small towns and rural or suburban areas.

Police reinforcements quickly cordoned off the area. The suspect, who was not identified, was found dead a few hours later, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said on Twitter. Mr Darmanin was due to arrive in the Puy-de-Dôme region later on Wednesday.

François Chautard, the mayor of Saint-Just, told the BFM television news channel that the officers had been shot after arriving at the scene of a domestic dispute and that the gunman had set the house on fire.

“The house is totally destroyed,” said Mr. Chautard.

The Interior Ministry said that “the tragic circumstances of these deaths remind us again of the risks gendarmes and police officers face in performing their daily duties”.

According to official statistics, 25 French police officers and gendarmes were killed on duty in 2018, up from 15 in 2017. Thirteen of those deaths in 2018 were directly related to security measures.

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