Annecy Stabbings Suspect Held Over Attempted Murders
A man suspected of stabbing four young children in a playground in the French resort of Annecy is held on attempted murder charges, French prosecutors say.
The children, aged between one and three, were attacked with a knife in a park in the Alpine region on Thursday.
Prosecutors said the actions of Syrian-born Abdelmasih Hanoun, who they referred to as Abdelmasih H, did not appear linked to terrorism.
The suspect, 31, remained silent in police interviews, prosecutors said.
He has not been cooperating with investigators – in fact, he has refused to communicate with them and has spent much of the last 48 hours curled up in the corner of his cell.
Police had to physically carry him to his brief hearing before a judge on Saturday, where he was formally placed under investigation for attempted murder. He will remain in custody.
Local prosecutor Lise Bonnet-Mathis said during a news conference that the suspect had been ‘assessed by a psychiatrist’ while in custody, and had been determined “fit to appear before a court.”
She added that it was too early to make any kind of conclusion regarding his mental state.
“The brutal attack on victims so young – its horror captured on video – has shocked France.”
This story contains details some readers may find distressing.
Footage uploaded to social media showed people screaming soon after a man holding a knife entered a playground next to a lake in Annecy.
The video that is too graphic for broadcast showed him attacking a child in a pushchair.
He then fled the scene and stabbed an elderly man nearby. Police intervened, and the attacker was shot in the legs.
President Emmanuel Macron described it as an “act of cowardice” and travelled to the south-eastern region on Friday to visit victims and their families in hospital.