Farmer Kills 14 In Shooting Spree; His Mother, Sister Die
LUXIOL, France (AP) _ Funerals for 14 people killed by an emotionally troubled farmer who went on a rampage with a shotgun will replace Bastille Day festivities in this small, close-knit village, the mayor said today.
Christian Dornier killed his mother and sister and wounded his father Wednesday before getting in his car and driving around shooting at everyone in his path, police said. The dead included several children.
Authorities said Dornier, who is about 30, wounded nine people, including a police captain, and was himself shot and wounded before being captured.
Mayor Roger Clausse, whose 5-year-old niece was among those killed, said Dornier was believed angered by his elderly father’s decision not to turn over to him management of the family farm in Luxiol, which is near the Swiss border.
He said funerals would be held Friday in this village of 128 people and the nearby communities of Baumes-les-Dames, Verne and Voillans.
Street dances and fireworks displays scheduled in Baumes-les-Dames were canceled and will be replaced by a solemn ceremony with placing of wreaths in memory of the victims.
All over France, the traditional July 14 celebrations were to be especially lively this year in honor of the 200th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison in the French Revolution.
A French anti-hunting group called for tighter controls on firearms used by hunters, which are much easier to get than tightly regulated handguns and other weapons. The Rally of Opponents to Hunting issued a statement urging tougher laws on the possession of hunting weapons that would ″take them away from people under medical treatment and away from hunters out of season.″
The mayor’s son, Joel Clausse, said today that he was upstairs at home when Dornier drove toward him shooting. He said he shot at Dornier from an upstairs window with a rifle and wounded him, but not badly enough to stop him.
″I saw the blood spurting out of his neck,″ Joel Clausse said. Dornier then continued on until he was finally stopped by police gunfire in the village of Autechaux, 1.5 miles from Luxiol, the mayor’s son said.
The mayor said 40 officers had given chase.
Police said Dornier had been working on his father’s farm. Roger Clausse said Dornier was known in the village to be emotionally troubled.
Archbishop Lucien Daloz from the nearby city of Besancon was among the mourners who came to visit the makeshift chapel at City Hall where the bodies of six of the victims were laid. Besides the mayor’s niece, a 10-year-old girl was also among the dead, police said.
The French news agency Agence France-Presse said a local police spokesman, whom it did not identify, called Dornier ″a huge man, solitary and wild, someone who inspires fear.″
Police at their regional headquarters in Besancon said the 14 were killed by buckshot.
Georges Dornier, the suspect’s uncle, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that his nephew was ″mildly depressive. I saw him this morning, and he was very calm.″
A neighbor of Dornier, Marie-Therese Barraud, said she hid behind a wall as he fired shots into her kitchen. ″My husband, who was outside, was shot in the legs and the head. He’s in the hospital,″ she said by telephone.
″I knew he was sick, he had shot at my husband once before,″ Mrs. Barraud said of Dornier. ″Our neighbors advised us not to go out in our garden.″
A young woman reached by telephone in Luxiol said she heard gunshots that she thought at first were firecrackers.
″Then a neighbor told me a black car was driving around the village and the driver was shooting at everybody,″ she said on condition of anonymity. ″I went to tell the mayor. I saw an old woman lying on the ground dead.″
Premier Michel Rocard sent a telegram to the mayor of Luxiol offering condolences. The village is about 275 miles southeast of Paris.
The mass killing was the worst in memory for France. Death tolls have been higher in similar recent attacks in the United States and Britain.
In San Ysidro, Calif., James Huberty shot and killed 21 people and injured 19 others at a McDonald’s restaurant on July 18, 1984.
On Aug. 19, 1987, in Hungerford in southwestern England, Michael Ryan killed 16 bystanders with an assault rifle and revolver before he was killed.
Under French gun-control regulations, a license is required to buy a shotgun. Handguns and assault rifles, which are more tightly controlled, are very rare in this country.