“There were six of us, five of us came back. I will keep (this attack in me) until the end of my life. There is incomprehension and a feeling of injustice, ”said Victor Queiroz at the helm. At the time, he was at the head of the crew of the 32nd Security and Intervention Company (CSI), stationed on April 20, 2017 at the top of the Champs-Élysées, to prevent a possible disturbance of public order. , when Karim Cheurfi strafed at the Kalashnikov, around 8:47 p.m., the police van.
Four men (including one, Nourredine Allam, under the terrorist qualification) are on trial until June 18 at the latest for their role in providing the assault rifle to the assailant, who died in the attack three days before. the first round of the presidential election. As soon as the Islamic State group claimed responsibility, it hardened the end of the campaign.
Two of the six CSI members were inside the vehicle, including Xavier Jugelé at the wheel. “He was in front of me. The terrorist could have started with me. The scene will remain etched forever in each of us “remembers Cédric Lemaître with” a big thought for Xavier “.
“The sound of bullets in the body echoes like in a parallel world – for months they echoed in my head. I fall to the ground (after getting out of the vehicle, editor’s note), I see the terrorist coming, I close my eyes. I hear gunshots, but they are from colleagues, ”he continues.
Positioned a little further, they shoot down Karim Cheurfi after an exchange of fire.
“Victor and the others saved my life. I will never be able to say thank you enough ”, adds Cédric Lemaître on the verge of tears, injured in the attack.
Ludovic Tevelle, who also received a bullet (like a German tourist), thanked Xavier Jugelé “for having saved our lives: there were too many people, too much noise” on the Champs-Élysées that evening. The sound of bullets fired at their colleague alerted the others.
The police are there to help people, not get shot
More than four years later, a feeling of guilt remains. “I’m trying to analyze how I could have saved the life of this young boy. I can’t find any answers ”, says Victor Queiroz, animated by an“ immeasurable rage, a hatred that has never left him, an enormous sadness ”.
Nicolas Cabrera considers himself “as a miracle”. “Every day I think about these facts. No matter how much I turn them all over the place, I don’t see how it could have been avoided. “
As for Nicolas Drouin, he “regularly sees the scene in black and white and in slow motion”. All these police officers then developed psychic sequelae, between avoidance behaviors, attitude of hypervigilance and reminiscences, underlines at the bar the expert psychiatrist Nicolas Dantchev.
“We are not prepared to be attacked by a terrorist. The police are there to help people, not get shot. The soldiers wage war, not us ”explains Cédric Lemaître.
Since April 20, Nicolas Drouin is “tired of being hypervigilant”. “Earlier, someone (in the room) accidentally dropped a tablet. Unconsciously, I put my hand on the hip (where his service weapon is usually located, Editor’s note). At the restaurant, I look at all the doors and openings. I’ve always been like that, but it has become exponential ”since the attack, he illustrates.
Cédric Lemaître for his part “had anxieties at each intervention” for a year after the facts. Like four of the five police officers, he ended up leaving the Paris region, in his case for a job “in an office”. “It traumatized me for life, changed my life, like those of my colleagues and Xavier’s parents,” he adds.
Ludovic Tevelle’s young daughter did not want to “call her anymore” for a while after the attack. Living in Nice, she considered him dead “if I never answered”.
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