Extreme violence during a routine anti-drug operation. Eric M., a 36-year-old policeman, father of two children, died of two bullets, including one in the chest, this Wednesday around 6.30 p.m. in Avignon (Vaucluse), while trying to arrest a dealer. According to the first elements of the investigation, the brigadier and his colleagues from the search and intervention group were back from a judicial operation in Carpentras and were finishing their service when they received a final call for a relatively classic intervention: a a gathering around the Place du Pie, a known deal point in downtown Avignon.
When they arrived there, the police noticed that a transaction of narcotics was taking place a few meters away.
In civilian clothes, the five officials put on their “police” armbands and tried to arrest several individuals who fled.
A suspect escapes on a scooter and takes out a gun before firing several times in the direction of the five police officers who were trying to stop him.
The sergeant, in civilian clothes, was hit twice and collapsed.
"Anger and despondency"
Despite a heart massage given by his colleagues, then by the firefighters, Eric M. died a few minutes later. According to a source close to the investigation, at least one police officer tried to retaliate and fired three times in the direction of the suspect, without reaching him. This man is actively sought by the local police officers divided between "anger and dejection". The investigation into this homicide which strikes the police is entrusted to the criminal brigade of the SRPJ of Montpellier.
For several weeks, Gérald Darmanin, the Minister of the Interior, has asked the police to be particularly offensive against the points of deal, making the fight against drug trafficking one of his priorities.
"Police pressure on dealers has increased considerably," said a senior official.
To defend their territory, they now seem ready for anything.
One of our police officers was fatally injured this evening in Avignon, while he was in intervention.
My first thoughts go to his loved ones and to the great family of the @PoliceNationale, again in mourning.
Everything is being done to ensure that this heinous act does not go unpunished.
- Jean Castex (@JeanCASTEX) May 5, 2021
From this Wednesday evening, the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, denounced on Twitter a "heinous act". Gérald Darmanin was expected in the evening in Avignon, along with Frédéric Veaux, the Director General of the National Police (DGPN). The national police evokes for its part a "tragedy" and "a broken family". Eric M. killed comes from a family of police officers: his brother and sister are stationed in Île-de-France.