The latest report from the prefecture reports six injuries, including four very young children. The assailant, a 32-year-old Syrian refugee, was arrested by the police shortly after the incident.
The scene took place shortly after 9:30 am, Thursday June 8, near the garden of Europe, on the shores of Lake Annecy (Haute-Savoie). Videos circulating on social media show a man wielding a knife spreading terror in the middle of a children’s playground. “We were playing mölkky quietly and then someone came in shouting”tells France Bleu Pays de Savoie a young woman who witnessed the attack. “At first we thought he was playing. But in fact he jumped the fence of the park and stabbed a little girl, then a baby in a stroller.”
“I thought it was a joke and in fact not at all: he had a real knife. I thought it was a toy. But when I heard the cry [d’une] Mom, I started running.”A woman who witnessed the scene
in France Bleu Pays de Savoie
On the images filmed by a witness of the scene and posted on the internet, we indeed see the assailant jumping a railing, after having shouted, in English, the words “In the name of Jesus Christ!”. Cries of terror ring out, a woman carrying a stroller tries to resist the assailant, who approaches children with guns in their hands.
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The man, dressed in black shorts, a blue scarf tied over his head, goes back and forth between the playground and the promenade where there are people jogging. “It was a little unreal (…). He was screaming, but [ce qu’il disait] was not necessarily understandable. He preyed on babies.”testifies on BFMTV Malo, a cyclist who witnessed the scene. “My 17 year old attended [à la scène]. A person brandished a knife and stabbed a baby in a pram (…), then he saw the crowd, screams, blood”told AFP a mother who came to pick up her son at the prefecture.
“We tried to intervene”
According to various testimonies, the assailant then tried to flee from the playground. He was then chased by a man who tried to protect himself with a backpack. “After a while, we saw two men fighting in front of us,” tells franceinfo a high school teacher who supervised a group of students present on the scene at the time of the facts. “Someone was shouting, ‘He’s got a gun, he’s got a gun.’ I evacuated part of the class, some students were shocked and did not move too much.
Other passers-by try to challenge him. “[Un passant] said to me: ‘There’s a guy stabbing in the park across from the Amours bridge’. With my colleague, we tried to intervene to stop the gentleman”, says a maintenance worker at France Bleu Pays de Savoie. The latter then tries to shovel the assailant and nearly takes a stab wound.
The emergency services are alerted at 9:41 am, and the intervention is triggered immediately. “He fled, the police arrived. They tried to arrest him first without opening fire”explains Malo at the microphone of BFMTV. “He was running behind someone, then the police arrived first on a motorbike, [avant de les poser]. There must have been three policemen. They took out the weapons. They asked him to calm down, then to get down. The assailant did not get down and suddenly they fired”also tells a witness to franceinfo.
“He attacks once, twice”
“I was running by the lake, and suddenly I see dozens of people running in the opposite direction”also testified former professional footballer Anthony Le Tallec in a story posted on Instagram. “There’s a mum telling me ‘Run, run! There’s someone stabbing everyone all along the lake, he’s stabbed children, run!'”
“I see cops who are 5-10 meters from him and who cannot catch him. He is coming towards me, so I move away a little. And I see that he is going straight for grandpas and grandmas.”Anthony Le Tallec
Anthony Le Tallec then sees the assailant stabbing an elderly person. “He attacks once, twice. And there, [les policiers] start shooting”, says the footballer again. On a large lawn facing Lake Annecy, the police then proceed to the arrest, under the gaze of onlookers still in shock.
Anthony Le Tallec criticized on the networks the slow reaction of the police when the attacker was facing his victim. In response, police released a timeline of events to show that only four minutes had elapsed between when they received the alert and when the assailant was arrested.
According to the provisional report, the attack left six injured, including four children aged 22 months to 3 years. A man was hit by a gunshot during the intervention of the police. For their part, the four children “are in a state of absolute emergency”announced Line Bonnet, the public prosecutor of Annecy.