Thu, Mar 02, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Two hurt in police shooting accident at Hollande event

AFP, VILLOGNON, France

A policeman providing security for French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday accidentally fired his gun as Hollande was giving a speech, injuring two people in the VIP area of the crowd, an official said.

Hollande was inaugurating part of a high-speed rail line in Villognon in the southwest of the country when the mishap occurred.

“It was an accidental shot by a police officer which injured two waiters, or at least one waiter and an [event] employee. The injuries aren’t life threatening,” Charente Prefect Pierre N’Gahane said.

“The bullet grazed one person’s calf and then lodged in another person’s leg,” he said, adding that the victims were in a VIP area next to where Hollande was speaking.

The officer, who was helping to provide security for the president, was standing on an elevated point, N’Gahane said.

He made a “mistake in handling while changing positions,” an informed source told reporters.

Video from the incident shows Hollande halting his speech after a gunshot is heard in the background, with the president saying: “I hope there’s nothing serious” and holding his hands up to the crowd.

However, a few seconds later he says: “I don’t think so” and resumes talking about the project.

The victims were treated at the scene in a separate area from where Hollande was speaking, before being taken away by firefighters, who confirmed the injuries were minor.

N’Gahane told reporters that neither of the victims were in danger and that an investigation had been opened.

Hollande spoke briefly to the two injured guests before departing, N’Gahane said.

This is not the first mishap to occur during one of Hollande’s speeches. While he was running for the presidency a woman threw flour over him as he wrapped up a speech on housing problems, in protest over housing laws not being applied — which led to his security detail being boosted from two to 14 bodyguards.

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