“Yes, it was me who shot,” admits Ilias Akoudad

Pushed to confess by his lawyer Frank Berton, Ilias Akoudad admitted on Monday to “shooting” the victim, but without knowing his role as a police officer.


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Ilias Akoudad surrounded by two police officers in the box of the two accused, on February 22, 2024, within the Assize Court of Avignon (Vaucluse).  (ELISABETH DE POURQUERY / FRANCE TELEVISIONS)

The main accused of the murder of police officer Eric Masson in May 2021 in Avignon, Ilias Akoudad, confessed on Monday February 26 at his trial before the Vaucluse Assize Court “to have shot” on the victim, but without knowing his status as a police officer. “Yes, it was me who shot the police officer Eric Masson”, recognized Ilias Akoudad, pushed to confess by his lawyer Frank Berton and while his mother was present at the hearing. He previously denied any involvement, despite accusations from several witnesses.

On May 5, 2021, Eric Masson and his colleague Romain were returning from an operation in a city in Carpentras when they were called for disturbances in the historic heart of Avignon. When they arrived, there was no commotion. They then decide to monitor the area, which is known for hosting deal spots. They witness a transaction, check the buyer, an almost 60-year-old drug addict who has since died.

Then two young people arrive, who are not the sellers of the first transaction. One of them said to Eric Masson: “What are you guys doing, coaling?” Then things move very quickly. His interlocutor, for some unexplained reason, plunges his hand into his bag. Eric took out his baton but he did not have time to unfold it, according to his teammate.

He “pointed the gun at me”

Afterwards, “I heard Eric say ‘police, police’ and two bangs”. Romain is categorical on this point, his colleague would have announced his role as a police officer just before the shootings. On the other hand, he did not see if he had presented his armband or not, if the armband was close to his body or not, too focused on trying to save him. Was Eric Masson’s role as a police officer known to the shooter? On these points, testimonies still differ.

Several witnesses, including Romain himself, assure that after the events, when the shooter fled, Romain shouted several times “police, police” and shoots in his direction. At that moment, the murderer “pointed the gun at me”. He will not hear any detonation, but the ballistic expertise will establish that a bullet impact was found in his direction.

For this reason, Ilias Akoudad is being prosecuted for the murder of Eric Masson, but also for the attempted murder of Romain. For these two facts, he faces the maximum sentence, life imprisonment with a security sentence of 30 years, but only if the author knew the victims’ status as police officers.

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