A teenage student opened fire on Thursday at a high school in southeastern France, wounding up to four people, in an attack carried out after he had watched United States mass shooting videos such as that in Columbine, officials said.
“It was total panic,” Achraf, a student in the school, said on BFM TV. “The gunshots were at 4 to 5 meters from where we were. We thought the gunman was coming towards us. We heard him shouting.”
France’s Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem visiting the scene of the attack, in Grasse, said the attack, appeared to be “a crazy act by a fragile young man fascinated by firearms”.
The incident in Grasse, which does not appear to be linked to militancy, comes with France on high alert after more than 230 people were killed in the past two years by attackers allied to ISIS.
With a presidential election less than six weeks away, the attack by a 17-year-old armed with a hunting rifle looked likely to further stoke the debate on security.
Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said three people had been injured when the teenager opened fire. The local police department said four had been lightly injured.
The youth, who was also carrying two handguns and two grenades, was arrested at the school. Checks were under way to establish whether there was a second assailant.
“The first investigations suggest he had consulted videos of mass killings in America,” the ministry spokesman said.