An important feature of research was deployed in the night from Thursday to Friday, in the Herault to find a man suspected of killing an employee of a retirement home for the religious of Montferrier-on-Lez. Shortly before 3 p.m., a helicopter flew over the area by illuminating the ground with a wide beam of light to track down the man who broke, hooded and armed, on Thursday evening in the retirement home The Oaks, a facility for men and women religious belonging to the Society of african missions (SMA). “The status of the investigation, there is no evidence to characterize the motivations” of the killer, told the press the public prosecutor of Montpellier Christophe Barret. The terrorist hypothesis is at this stage not preferred, has also advanced a source close to the investigation, while France is struck for nearly two years by a wave of attacks by jihadist unprecedented. These attacks have left 238 people dead, including a priest killed in a full mass at the end of July in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen.
According to the first elements, shortly before 22 hours of Thursday, ” a single individual, encagoulé and armed with a knife and a rifle, sawed, broke into the retirement home “, said sources close to the investigation. The profile of the man was not known in the immediate future. “Around 22 hours, a woman working in this retirement home has called the police, saying they have been attacked by a man “, reported on his side Christophe Barret. This woman – an employee of the establishment, tied up and gagged, but was able to free up to give the warning, according to a source close to the dossier – has been found by the police “safe and sound, but very shocked,” added the magistrate. In contrast, another woman was found dead by the police on their arrival, added the prosecutor, without saying how it had been killed. A source close to the investigation said the Agency France-Presse that after having it tied up, the man killed with a knife the other employee.
The special unit of the gendarmerie deployed on site, the PSI-Sword, searched the building, located in a large park giving himself on a forest massif up to 0: 30. A device of research has been put in place by the police to find the assailant on the run. Previously, fifty-nine residents of the settlement had been placed in safety. “The police have ensured the physical integrity and the presence of all of the residents,” said Christophe Barret : “None of them has been injured or mistreated, [...] all the residents were unscathed. “The investigation has been jointly entrusted to the gendarmerie and the SRPJ Montpellier.
” Our prayer rises this night for the one who has lost life in the attack on a retirement home for religious in the Hérault “, reacted on Twitter to the secretary-general and spokesman of the bishops ‘ Conference of France (CEF), Mgr Olivier Ribadeau Dumas. “Our prayer goes also to the missionaries attacked. [...] That God gives to all his peace “, he added. Sixty missionaries of Africa as well as six or seven lay and six or seven nuns are received into the institution, according to the mayor of Montferrier-sur-Lez, Michel Fraysse. The EHPAD (accommodation facility for dependent elderly people) is located at a place called Baillarguet, outside the village of Montferrier near Montpellier.
To 2 hours, a dozen vehicles of police and of the gendarmerie, and about a dozen fire department vehicles were still stationed a few hundred metres of the establishment, have found journalists from the Agence France-Presse. A large safety perimeter was deployed, extending to several hundred metres, including up to a small artisanal zone on the edge of the road between Prades-le-Lez in Montpellier, france. Teams from the Raid and the GIGN, the elite units of the national police and the gendarmerie, were also on site.
The Society of african missions is a community of catholic missionaries in european, african and asian, that has a thousand members, priests and laity, according to its website. The SMA has five “houses” in France of the same type as that of Montferrier-on-Lez.