A French police sniper in an elevated hide providing overwatch during a speech by French President François Hollande negligently cranked off a round during a speech at a town in western France.
The sound of the shot being fired was captured during Hollande’s address, and the President, who will step down in May, paused for a few moments as he tried to understand what happened before continuing on with his address.
The shot apparently broke as the police sniper was attempting to move from one position to another with a round in the chamber and his safety was off. He’s very fortunate that he didn’t kill either of the two people he hit.
A French police sniper has accidentally shot and injured two people during a speech by President Francois Hollande in western France.
The shot was fired as the officer moved position on a roof about 100m (328ft) from a tent where Mr Hollande was speaking in the town of Villognon.
The bullet went through the canvas of the tent, where drinks were being made. It passed through a waiter’s thigh and lodged in another person’s calf.
The injuries were not life-threatening.
Mr Hollande was inaugurating a new stretch of railway when a gunshot was heard. He interrupted his speech for a few moments but reports say there was no panic.
“I hope it’s nothing serious – I think not,” Mr Hollande said as he paused his address to ask whether anyone had been hurt.
The president later visited the injured – the head waiter of a local hotel and an employee of a railway maintenance company.
One local report said the safety catch of the sniper’s weapon had been unlocked, allowing the gun to be discharged accidentally.
Local government chief Pierre N’Gahane said a judicial investigation had been launched.
Asked if the officer had fired accidentally, he was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying: “Yes, without doubt.”
Precision rifles used by military and police snipers tend to have short, light trigger pulls that makes using a safety and keeping your finger well away from the trigger mandatory until you’re ready to fire.
I think it’s likely that the police sniper in question will likely never work a dignitary protection detail again.