Added by Gary Dunn on June 18, 2012
A suspect was arrested during a massive manhunt early Monday after a man shot dead two female paramilitary gendarmes with one of their own pistols in a village in southeast France.
The gendarmes, aged 29 and 35, were intervening in a dispute on Sunday when a man who had been accused of burglary knocked down one of them, grabbed her gun and killed her, investigators said.
He then pursued the second officer and shot her in cold blood in a nearby square.
The suspect, who an investigator said appeared to be drunk, made off with the gendarmes’ revolvers.
“A person corresponding to the description” of the wanted man — aged 25, tall and well-built, with a shaved head — was being held, said Toulon prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux.
“All verifications must be carried out” to make sure the man, who was arrested with his girlfriend, was the main suspect, Tarabeux added.
Local government chief Paul Mourier commented that he had asked for the entire region as well as the village to be cordoned off. The gendarmerie said the suspect had a criminal record.
One of the dead women was married with daughters aged five and 13 while the other had a gendarme boyfriend, officials said.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls was to travel Monday morning to Collobrieres, a village with a 2,000 population nestled in the Maures mountains.
It was the first time in the history of the gendarmerie that two females from the force had been killed in the same operation, an investigator said.