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what we know about the violent attacks which cost the life of Thomas, 16 years old

The gendarmerie announced Tuesday morning that “probable arrests” would quickly take place, two days after this violent fight initiated by around ten individuals who came to fight in this small village in Drôme.



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Investigators at the scene of the attacks which caused the death of a teenager, on the night of November 18 to 19, 2023 in Crépol (Drôme).  (STEPHANE MARC / MAXPPP)

Two days after the violent attacks which took place at the end of a ball in the town of Crépol (Drôme), testimonies are pouring in and the investigation is progressing. This village near Romans-sur-Isère is in shock after the death of Thomas, a 16-year-old teenager, killed in the night from Saturday to Sunday. The spokesperson for the national gendarmerie, Marie-Laure Pezant, spoke on Tuesday, November 21 on franceinfo about “a brawl of quite incredible violence for a village of 500 inhabitants”during which several other people were injured, two of them very seriously.

“We must expect rapid progress and probable arrests”she said Tuesday morning after launching a call for witnesses to invite participants in this ball, in particular those who publish photos on social networks, to come forward to investigators. “It would be more reasonable than the authors (attacks) show up, because we won’t be long in coming to pick them up.”, she also assured. Franceinfo summarizes what we know, at this stage, about this affair.

Around ten individuals came to fight at the end of a ball

The events took place during an evening organized on Saturday by the Crépol festival committee, accessible upon registration, reservation or failing that, after payment of an entrance fee the same evening”, specifies in a press release the public prosecutor of Valencia, Laurent de Caigny. The ball took place in the village hall, and “at least 400 people were expected”. Four officers provided security for the event.

“During the night, at least ten individuals not registered for this demonstration presented themselves at the entrance to participate,” relates the prosecutor. Towards the end of the evening, “an incident pitted one of the four security agents against one of the individuals not previously registered. This incident degenerated into violence with knives, the security guard being injured, and the ten individuals who arrived at night then formed a hostile group”, he describes. Participants registered for the evening then came to support the security guards and a brawl ensued which continued outside.”

Marie-Laure Pezant, however, contests the use of the term “brawl” to describe these facts. A fight is two groups of young people who have decided to make an appointment and confront each other. Here, we are not in that configuration”, underlines the spokesperson for the national gendarmerie. Initial testimonies speak of individuals “having claimed to have come to fight with the people present at the evening”. “It was very brutal and very violent,” For her part, declared the mayor of Crépol, Martine Lagut, to France Bleu Drôme Ardèche.

One dead and several seriously injured

According to the elements communicated by the prosecutor, three people were “very seriously injured with a knife” during this violence, “in addition to the security guard initially affected”. The prosecution notably reports stab wounds to the back and chest. More than ten people were also beaten.

The injured in absolute emergency were evacuated, but one of them, Thomas, died “during his transport to the Lyon hospital”. This 16-year-old teenager attended the Dauphiné high school in Romans-sur-Isère. A minute of silence took place on Monday to pay tribute to him and a white march will take place on Wednesday in this town, at the initiative of his family. The march will start from his high school around 1:30 p.m. and will end with a time of meditation at the Albert-Donnadieu stadium, where Thomas played rugby with the RC Romans-Péages club.

According to Marie-Laure Pezant, the two very seriously injured people were no longer in absolute emergency on Tuesday morning.

An open investigation into homicide and attempted homicide by an organized gang

Following these facts, a flagrant investigation was first opened for “intentional homicide” and “attempted homicide” by the Drôme gendarmerie and the Valence public prosecutor’s office. The research section of the Grenoble gendarmerie is leading this investigation “in view of the flight of the perpetrators, their plurality and the multiplicity of victims”, specifies the prosecution in its press release. An aggravating circumstance of an organized gang was retained, “faced with what appeared more like a expedition planned by the individuals who confronted the people of the evening.

“The investigators are progressing very quickly, giving hope for a rapid operational evolution of the investigation”. the prosecutor said Monday evening. Clues were collected at the scene, and investigators have information about the vehicles used by the suspects who fled. In less than 48 hours, the gendarmerie carried out “more than 70 auditions”, reported Monday evening the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, during the program “C à vous” on France 5.

In view of the first elements of the investigation, the Valencia prosecutor emphasizes that it is false to assert that the hostile group would be composed of individuals all from the same city and the same neighborhood. Several far-right figures, such as the president of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, very quickly spoke of young people coming “city”.

Gérald Darmanin evokes the “wildness” of society

“What happened is absolutely despicable and unacceptable”reacted the Minister of the Interior Monday evening on France 5. He added that “What happened is not extremely clear or too clear: people who came from elsewhere and wanted to force entry to this party and stabbing people started. It’s called ‘wildness.’ Gérald Darmanin considered that this is“a general bankruptcy of our society” And “we must restore authority everywhere.”

Since Sunday morning, political reactions have multiplied on the right and the far right, while the investigation is underway. Thomas was “victim of the savagery of France”, for example, wrote on X (ex-Twitter) the president of the Les Républicains party, Eric Ciotti. As usual, some will keep quiet about his assassination by thugs who came to Crépol to kill young French people.”the leader of Reconquête, Eric Zemmour, was also quick to react.

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