French boy takes rifle to school; no one hurt

AP News
Posted: Nov 17, 2009 4:00 PM

A 13-year-old French boy stole his father's hunting rifle and took it to school with the intention of shooting his teachers, but his family and police intervened before anyone was hurt, police said.

The boy _ a student at a Roman Catholic school in Beauvais, 90 kilometers (55 miles) north of Paris _ had posted an entry on his blog suggesting he wanted to commit suicide and carry out a massacre, police and gendarmes said.

One police official suggested the boy may have been feeling desperate about his bad grades. Officers spoke on condition of anonymity because of department policy.

Though France has strict laws governing handguns, rifles are relatively common in a country where hunting is a popular traditional pastime.

France has been spared school massacres _ unlike neighboring Germany, which has had two just this year. In a 2008 incident in France, teenagers trying out a BB gun fired 4.5 mm shots near a nursery school in Lyon, slightly injuring 11 adults but no children.

On Tuesday morning, the middle school student at the Institution of the Holy Spirit left home armed with his father's hunting rifle and about 20 cartridges, officers said. His parents soon realized the weapon was missing and alerted authorities. The boy's name was not released.

Police quickly deployed around the school. When the teen arrived, he fled because of the police presence, officers said.

The boy abandoned his rifle in a field, got in contact with his parents and met them at a cybercafe in the center of town, police and gendarmes said. He was taken into custody by gendarmes and was scheduled to undergo psychological testing.