The police officer who exchanged himself for a female hostage when an ISIS armed man attacked a supermarket in Carcassonne has died.
Lt-Col Arnaud Beltrame, aged 44, was shot and stabbed after he traded places with one of the captives following a shooting spree in southern France.
Flags are being flown at half-mast at gendarmerie bases across France in his honour. His brother Cedric said Col Arnaud “didn’t have a chance”, adding that his actions were “beyond the call of duty”.
“He gave his life for strangers. He must have known that he didn’t really have a chance. If that doesn’t make him a hero, I don’t know what would,” Col Arnaud’s brother Cedric told a French radio station on Saturday.
His cousin, Florence Nicolic, described him to BBC as a person who was “so good at his job”.
“Even though we were surprised and shocked when we heard what happened we were not surprised in the sense that that’s the thing he would do without hesitation,” Ms Nicolic said.
French President Emmanuel Macron also paid tribute to the officer, saying that Col Arnaud “fell as a hero” after showing “exceptional courage and selflessness”, adding that he deserved “the respect and admiration of the whole nation”.