3 injured in school shooting in French town of Grasse

Eight people have been injured after a shooting at a high school in the small southern French town of Grasse, and a 17-year-old student carrying a rifle, handguns and grenades has been arrested, the interior ministry and police sources say.VIDEO: REUTERS
Police officers on foot and in vehicles on alert yesterday in Grasse, where a shooting at a local high school - allegedly carried out by one or more students and targeting the principal - took place earlier.
Police officers on foot and in vehicles on alert yesterday in Grasse, where a shooting at a local high school - allegedly carried out by one or more students and targeting the principal - took place earlier.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

17-year-old student who was carrying a rifle, handguns and grenades arrested

PARIS • At least three people were injured in a shooting at a high school in the small southern French town of Grasse yesterday, with a 17-year-old student who was carrying a rifle, handguns and grenades arrested, Interior Ministry and police sources said.

"The individual does not seem to be known by police," one police source said.

There was conflicting information about whether a second suspect was on the run.

According to a statement from the Grasse town hall, "two pupils shot at the principal". A police source also said that it appeared that two students had opened fire on the headmaster and two students, who were injured. The source added that the suspects did not seem to be militants.

However, another police source indicated that the shooter acted alone.

All schools in Grasse, which is some 40km of the Riviera resort of Nice, were locked down, the education authorities said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told France Inter radio that three people had been injured and advised families to remain patient as police worked to stabilise the situation.

He had earlier told BFM TV that eight people were injured.

An eyewitness interviewed by France Inter radio said students had heard a bang and taken cover under tables.

"I went to close the windows and saw a guy who looked at me in the eye. He seemed to be a student and not very big. He shot in the air and ran away," the student said, without giving his name.

Local emergency services advised residents on Twitter to stay at home. The government launched its mobile phone app, warning of a "terrorist" attack.

In a separate incident, a letter bomb exploded yesterday at the International Monetary Fund's offices in Paris and left at least one person "lightly wounded", according to local police.

A spokesman for Paris police said the episode occurred around 11.30am when the victim - who has not been identified - opened an envelope at the fund's offices.

In a tweet, the police prefecture said that an operation was in progress, after an injury to one person caused by "a suspicious package" that appeared to contain a "firework" of some sort.

The incident came a day after the German Finance Ministry received a similar package in Berlin addressed to Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. The Berlin parcel contained chemicals often used in fireworks and could have caused "serious injuries" if someone had opened it, Berlin police said.

A Greek group called "Conspiracy of Fire Cells" sent the package to Mr Schaeuble, according to the Athens News Agency. No one has claimed responsibility for the Paris letter.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, WASHINGTON POST, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2017, with the headline '3 injured in school shooting in French town of Grasse'. Print Edition | Subscribe