Man surrenders after French school hostage siege

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 10, 2012 4:48 AM
Man surrenders after French school hostage siege

PARIS (Reuters) - A man armed with a fake gun briefly took an adult hostage at a nursery school south of Paris on Tuesday.

The intruder, who entered the school in Vitry-sur-Seine on the southern edge of the capital shortly before it opened, was caught trying to escape police after freeing the hostage, a judicial source said.

The source said the man appeared to have psychological problems, but had no police record.

He was armed with a imitation automatic weapon that could only fire gas cartridges, he said.

"At 12:10 p.m. the hostage-taker was taken out (of the building) calmly ... without any shots fired," Ludovic Monier, a policeman at the scene earlier told reporters.

Last month, a 26-year-old man with a record of psychological problems, was shot and arrested by elite police in the southern city of Toulouse after taking several hostages at a bank and saying he was a member of al Qaeda.

Toulouse, in the southwestern corner of France, was also the city where an al Qaeda-inspired gunman, 23-year-old Mohamed Merah, was shot dead by police after killing three soldiers, three Jewish children at a school, and a rabbi.

(Reporting by Brian Love, Gerard Bon and Chine Labbe; Editing by Alison Williams)