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France

Police foil teenager's plan to shoot teachers

Article published on the 2009-11-18 Latest update 2009-11-18 12:47 TU

The Saint-Esprit school in Beauvais, northern France, where a teenager planned to shoot teachers with a shotgun on 17 November 2009.Photo: AFP

The Saint-Esprit school in Beauvais, northern France, where a teenager planned to shoot teachers with a shotgun on 17 November 2009.
Photo: AFP

Police prevented a 13-year-old boy from opening fire with a shotgun on his school near Paris, France, on Tuesday. The teenager's parents became suspicious after they noticed that the family hunting rifle was missing.

The boy, who has not been named, was taken into custody on 17 November. He admitted to police that he had planned to shoot teachers at his school in Beauvais, north of Paris.

Earlier that day, the teenager had taken his parents' hunting rifle and 25 cartridges from his home and headed to the Saint-Esprit high school before the start of lessons.

When he arrived, he found the building surrounded by police officers. He then decided to abandon his plan and left the gun in a nearby field before heading for an internet café in the town centre, where he was later apprehended.

The alert was raised by the boy's parents, who were suspicious when their son left home much earlier than usual and seemed to be acting strangely.

Searching their home, they discovered that the family gun was missing and informed the police.

Officers immediately began searching for the boy and instructed the school's director to keep pupils confined to their classrooms.

The boy had been having difficulties at school, Beauvais prosecutor James Juan told the AFP.

There was due to be a parent-teacher meeting to discuss the pupil's future at the academically high-achieving Saint-Esprit on 17 November. 

Prosecutors suspect that the planned attack was an attempt to stop this meeting taking place.

The boy had left a message on his blog on Monday evening, announcing that "this is the last day of my life".

While high school massacres have occurred in the United States, Germany and Finland in recent years, no such incident has ever taken place in France.