Five included in this number were injured during a stampede following the shooting. The attacker was not previously known to police. Police cordoned off the area and a police helicopter circled overhead throughout the afternoon. Schools in the town were immediately placed on lockdown and a smartphone application was triggered to warn people to stay away. The suspect was armed with a rifle, two handguns and two grenades, a police source said. He acted alone. The head of the regional government, Christian Estrosi, believes it has “psychological problems”.
Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem described the shooting as the “crazy act of a fragile young man fascinated by weapons”. French Prosecutor Fabienne Atzori said that the shooter’s motivations “appear to be linked” to his troubled relationships with other students. Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and the education minister arrived in Grasse in the afternoon.
Investigation proved the suspect was inspired: he had created a playlist on YouTube which included videos focusing on the 1999 Columbine school massacre in the United States when two pupils gunned down 12 fellow students and a teacher. On his Facebook page he also published numerous “satanist” images of characters with guns and even a video of himself wearing a horror clown mask holding a gun to his head. His profile picture is an image from a video game Hatred, described “as the most violent in the world”. His father was an elected councilor in Grasse. Authorities don’t think this was a real terrorist coordinated attack.