By Mel Dikert
Radouane Lakdim, a 25-year-old self-proclaimed soldier of the Islamic State, stormed into the Super U supermarket with a handgun and a large knife on the morning of Friday, March 23. The Super U is located in Trebes, France, “a town of about 5,500,” and on this particular morning, “more than two dozen people were doing their weekly shopping,” says the New York Times.
About an hour before his attack, Lakdim was reported to have hijacked a car, wounding the driver and killing a passenger, Jean Mazieres, in the process. According to the Washington Post, on his way to the supermarket, Lakdim also shot at four national police officers and wounded one of them as a result. Once Lakdim got to the Super U and entered, he immediately opened fire and started screaming “Allahu akbar” and “I am a soldier of Daesh,” shooting and killing a butcher and a customer within quick succession of each other. More than a dozen other shoppers and employees were injured.
“It pisses me off that people can just walk into places with guns because they aren’t being monitored or regulated, thus leading to people like Lakdim to just go to public areas and cause harm,” says Kayla Brown (‘21).
According to the New York Times, Lakdim held everyone hostage for about an hour following his initial attack until Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame entered the supermarket unarmed with hands held in the air and began talking to Lakdim, who was holding one of the cashiers as a shield with a gun pointed at her head. Beltrame’s comrades could hear him as he persuaded Lakdim to let the cashier go over the line on his cell phone that he had left open. Soon after that, gunshots were heard over the line, and Beltrame’s comrades, fearing for his life, rushed in. In the end, Lakdim was killed. While no one is entirely sure what happened before Beltrame’s comrades attacked Lakdim, the New York Times reports that an autopsy done after Beltrame’s death early the next day showed two gunshot wounds and “a knife wound in the neck” that proved to have been the lethal blow.
“I’m shocked, as is everyone, that these kinds of events can still occur. Really devastating and, according to the information, preventable, as well,” said Caleb Dean (‘21). “If Lakdim was on the radar of French police, why was Lakdim allowed to commit these atrocities? I’m not sure what can be done in the face of these events, but clearly there is a lack of action that needs to be adjusted.”
Before his attack, Lakdim, a French national who was originally born in Morocco, had been a petty criminal already on the radar of the French police. After the attack, the Islamic State, the Washington Post reports, “identified him as a ‘soldier’ and asserted responsibility for […] the assault on the Trebes supermarket.”
Image Courtesy of Reuters