Suspect in Park Stabbings Charged With Attempted Murder

French officials say man, a Syrian refugee living in Sweden, had been rejected by France for asylum
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2023 9:50 AM CDT
Updated Jun 10, 2023 7:00 AM CDT
Man Stabs 4 Kids, Grandpa at French Park: Reports
This July 9, 2021, photo shows a section of Annecy's Jardins de l'Europe.   (Wikimedia Commons/Guilhem Vellut)
UPDATE Jun 10, 2023 7:00 AM CDT

The case against a man accused of stabbing four children and two adults in a French park earlier this week has moved to the next phase. On Saturday, French judges hit the 31-year-old suspect, said to be a Syrian refugee with permanent Swedish residency, with preliminary charges of attempted murder and armed resistance, per France 24 and the AP. A prosecutor noted it's not clear what the motive for the attack was, though she said it didn't seem to be terrorism-related, and that the unnamed suspect has been deemed psychologically fit to face charges. He remains in custody while the probe continues. France's interior minister said the man had applied for asylum in France but was rejected days before the attack, as he was already living legally in Sweden. The prosecutor added that none of the six victims remain in life-threatening condition following the Thursday attack.

Jun 8, 2023 9:50 AM CDT

A man armed with a knife stabbed at least five people, including four children, in a brazen attack at a park in the Alpine city of Annecy, France, on Thursday. Antoine Armand, a lawmaker whose district includes Annecy, called it "an attack against our soul," per the New York Times. He said the man attacked "young children who were playing outside school hours." A witness told a local radio station that she saw the man jump over a park fence before stabbing a girl and a baby in a stroller. "I really thought it was a joke, but not at all," the woman said, per the Times. "When I heard the mother's scream, I started to run."

Police responded to the Jardins de l'Europe, a lakefront park in the city of 130,000, shortly after 9:45am local time, per ABC News and the Times. Authorities initially said seven or eight people were injured, but they later clarified that one adult and four children were wounded, per AFP. Three of the five are reportedly in critical condition. A suspect was immediately taken into custody, tweeted Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin. The man reportedly identified himself as a Syrian asylum-seeker, though that hasn't been confirmed, per AFP.

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Former professional soccer player Anthony Le Tallec was in the area at the time. He said he heard a woman screaming that a man had stabbed children before seeing police chasing after the man, who proceeded to attack an individual described as a grandfather of the children. "He stabs him once, and the cops behind him can't catch him," Le Tallec said in an Instagram video, per AFP. "I tell them: 'Shoot him, kill him, he's stabbing everyone!' They shoot the person, who falls to the ground." Le Tallec said he also "saw children on the ground." President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that it was an "attack of absolute cowardice," adding "the nation is in shock." (More stabbing stories.)

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