The French hero police officer who was shot dead during the ISIS hostage incident in Trèbes got married moments before his death on his deathbed.
Arnaud Beltrame, 44, was killed after he volunteered to remain with the terrorist in return for a young woman leaving unharmed.
The terrorist, who has since been identified as Redouane Lakdim, stormed a supermarket in the town in the south-west of France and took hostages. He agreed to let them all go, except for one woman who he wanted to keep for a human shield.
Colonel Beltrame offered to take her place as the shield, and Lakdim agreed. Beltrame is thought to have been shot several times before he was rushed to hospital.
While Beltrame was with the terrorist, he left a phone on a nearby table so colleagues could hear what was happening and assess the situation.
And now a priest at a local hospital has revealed Arnaud and his partner Marielle were married while the police officer was in hospital.
The priest also revealed that he performed the last rites on Arnaud before he died of his four bullet wounds.
Le lieutenant-colonel Arnaud Beltrame nous a quittés.
Mort pour la patrie.
Jamais la France n’oubliera son héroïsme, sa bravoure, son sacrifice.
Le coeur lourd, j’adresse le soutien du pays tout entier à sa famille, ses proches et ses compagnons de la @Gendarmerie de l’Aude. pic.twitter.com/I1h8eO7f9a
— Gérard Collomb (@gerardcollomb) March 24, 2018
The priest told AFP:
I performed the sacrament of marriage and performed the last rites… he was an incredibly courageous man, even at the end.
It was confirmed by French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb that Arnaud had died, despite the best efforts of surgeons who worked through the night to save him.
Forget Hollywood celebs and sports personalities, they pale in comparison to Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame who swapped himself for a hostage and paid the ultimate sacrifice. He defines what it is to be a true hero. Sir may you rest in peace. #ArnaudBeltrame pic.twitter.com/i4i9GgfVQj
— Colin Taylor (@DetSgtTaylor) March 24, 2018
Minister Collomb wrote on Twitter:
Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame has left us. He died for his country.
France will never forget his heroism, his bravery, his sacrifice.
Four people were killed as a result of the attack, and 16 people were injured, two of those critically.
We now know more about the unfolding of events in both Trèbes and Carcassonne, in which Ladkim killed one person with a bullet in the head.
He killed the first victim while he stole a car in Carcassonne, and while driving the car, pulled up alongside four police officers and opened fire, hitting one in the shoulder.
At that point he sped away and went to the supermarket, where he took the hostages while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and claiming allegiance with ISIS.
He opened fire, killing a customer and a supermarket worker, causing others to flee and hide from the attacker.
Another supermarket worker has told how he led a group of customers to hide in the cold storage area after he heard shooting.
Mother of French gendarmerie Arnaud Beltrame on hearing he’d volunteered to be hostage: "I'm not surprised. I knew it had to be him. He has always been like that. He’s someone, since he was born, who gives everything for his homeland."
— Andrew Neil (@afneil) March 24, 2018
He said, as reported by Mirror Online:
I was in my department when I heard gunshots. I went to the area of the gunshots and came face to face with the person.
He raised his gun and fired, I ran away, he shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and spoke about the Islamic State.
I then evacuated the clients, about 20, who were in my area and we went quietly out of the back.
I don’t like the word hero. It’s overused. But my god is it applicable here. French gendarme Arnaud Beltrame handed himself over to an ISIS-inspired gunman yesterday to save a hostage’s life. In the ensuing raid, he was shot & spent the night fighting for his life. He just passed https://t.co/I1FvnLpfCH
— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) March 24, 2018
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, and have called Lakdim a ‘soldier of the Islamic State who carried out the attack in response to the calls to attack Coalition countries’.