A teenage pupil has opened fire at a high school in a small southeastern French town, wounding at least three people, including the headmaster, according to the interior ministry.
Five more people were treated for injuries sustained during a stampede after Thursday’s shooting a t the cafeteria of the Tocqueville high school in Grasse, near Cannes.
The three people with light gunshot injuries were taken to hospital.
Schools in Grasse, a town of 50,000 people, were locked down after the incident, and local educational authorities asked parents to stay away.
“Students are safe. Thank you to parents for not coming yet so that security forces can operate,” the head of local educational services, Emmanuel Ethis, wrote on Twitter.
One 17-year-old pupil armed with a rifle, two handguns and two grenades was arrested after the shooting, police sources told news agencies.
“The first investigations suggest that he had consulted American-style mass killing videos,” the interior ministry spokesman said.
Checks were under way to establish whether there was a second assailant. The Grasse Town Hall said the incident was not “terrorist” related.
Al Jazeera’s David Chater, reporting from Grasse, said a major police operation was under way across the town.
“There is a sense of shock here,” he said. “You can see all the school children sitting by the side of the road, really shocked about what happened.
“We don’t know any of the details about what could had been the possible motivation here, but it really has had a terrible effect on this city and the feelings of the students.”
Witnesses interviewed by local TV stations described a scene of panic as the gunman entered the school’s cafeteria with pupils rushing to hide under tables or sprinting for the exit.
“It was total panic,” Achraf, a student, said on BFM TV.
“The gunshots were at four to five metres from where we were. We thought the gunman was coming towards us. We heard him shouting.
“I just know the gunman by sight. He was gentle and low-key key, not a nasty guy.”
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies