A tragic day
in the south of France left four people dead in what turned out to be a terrorist attack. Among the victims was a French police officer who swapped himself for a hostage in a supermarket siege
on Friday, a modern-day martyr. Lt-Col Arnaud Beltrame, 45,
"fell as a hero" and showed "exceptional courage", French
President Emmanuel Macron said. The gendarme helped bring an end to a gunman's
shooting spree that killed three in Carcassonne in southern France. The attacker, a 25-year-old Moroccan, was shot dead as police
brought the siege to an end. Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said: "Beltrame died for his country. France will never forget his heroism, his bravery, his
sacrifice." The violence began on Friday morning, where the
attacker hijacked a car. He killed a passenger - whose body was later found
hidden in a bush - and injured the driver. He then shot at a group of policemen
who were out jogging, wounding one of them. He then went into a supermarket and
held hostage various people. Police officers had managed to get some people out
of the supermarket but the gunman had held one woman back as a human shield. It
was at this point that Lt-Col Beltrame had volunteered to swap himself for her.
As he did so, he left his mobile phone on a table with an open line so that
police outside could monitor the situation. When police heard gunshots, a
tactical team stormed the supermarket. The gunman was killed and Lt-Col
Beltrame was injured, but died later at the hospital. Beltrame made the
ultimate sacrifice and lived this Gospel message from John 15:13: "Greater love has no
one than this, than to lay down one`s life for his friends."
Beltrame probably never knew the female
hostage, until she was released, but gave his life so that she can
live....truly a modern day martyr.