The suspect in a French high school shooting allegedly watched videos of American high school attacks in preparation. He has been named a Killian Barbey, 16. Authorities have said that he was heavily armed with a rifle, two handguns and two grenades. The gunfire erupted at the Alexis de Tocqueville high school in Grasse at around 1 p.m. on March 16. The small city is located in the southeastern part of the country, less than 30 miles west of Nice in Alpes-Maritimes. The motive for the attack is “to be determined” by authorities.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Suspect Has Been Referred to as a ‘Fragile Young Man’
French journalist Nicholas Henin has referred to the suspect as a “fragile young man” on Twitter. While Nice Matin reports that the suspect was the victim of “harassment.”
Le Monde reports that the suspect is from Tocqueville and that he watched “videos of mass killings.”
L’Express reports that the suspect “consulted” websites relating to American high school shootings.
2. He’s the Son a Far-Right French Politician
La Depeche reports that Barbey is the son of Franck Barbey. Franck Barbey is a former Grasse city counselor where he represented the far-right Front National party. Since then, Barbey has left that party for the similarly right-wing RPF.
Franck Barbey posted a photos of him and his son in Ireland on a vacation in the summer of 2016.
3. Barbey Posted a Video of Himself With a Gun to His Head on Facebook
In November 2016, Barbey posted a video to his Facebook page. It shows the suspect wearing a Slipknot-esque mask. He’s holding a revolver. Barbey takes turns showing the unloaded gun to the camera and pointing it at his temple while pulling the trigger. In the comments section, a friend asks Barbey is he stole the gun.
The rest of Barbey’s Facebook page is adorned with various memes showing various incarnations of The Joker character from the Batman series of movies. While on his YouTube channel, Barbey’s background image is from surveillance footage during the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.
4. The Shooter Targeted the School’s Principal
Le Figaro reports that three people have been shot and it’s possible that another has been stabbed. One of those wounded is the school’s principal. None of the injuries are thought to be life-threatening.
BFMTV reports that the principal was targeted by the gunman. One student told the station that he heard “four shots” and that the scene was “total panic.” While another witness told RTL that students had to climb over fences to get out of the staff parking lot.
Reports from the scene say that Barbey has no criminal record in Grasse. Le Figaro reports that the student was “heavily armed.”
Reports of a second gunman were later proven to be false.
BFMTV reports that the suspect was armed with three guns and two grenades.
5. A Terror Alert Was Issued Throughout France
Authorities in France have issued a text alert saying that there has been a possible terror attack. Le Monde reports that no links have been established between this shooting and Islamic terrorism.
The anti-terror force in France, RAID is on scene at the school, reports the Daily Telegraph. While France Info reports that the security forces have evacuated the school. Parents have been asked to avoid the school.
Grasse is known as the capital of France’s perfume industry. There are no indications that the attack is related to terrorism. Over the past two years, France has been rocked by the multiple attacks linked radical Islamist fighters. In July 2016, 86 people were killed in Nice when a truck rammed into a crowd of people on a promenade. France is still under a general state of emergency over the attacks.