Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Autopsy to Learn If Paris Airport Attacker Was Drunk or High

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Autopsy to Learn If Paris Airport Attacker Was Drunk or High

Article excerpt

PARIS * Blood tests determined Sunday that a suspected Islamic extremist consumed drugs and alcohol before a frenzied spree of violence that ended when he took a soldier hostage at Paris' Orly Airport and was shot dead by her fellow patrolmen.

The Paris prosecutors' office said toxicology tests conducted as part of an autopsy found traces of cocaine and cannabis in the blood of the suspect, Ziyed Ben Belgacem.

He also had 0.93 grams of alcohol per liter of blood when he died Saturday, the prosecutors' office said. That is nearly twice the legal limit for driving in France.

Belgacem, 39, a Frenchman with a long criminal record of drugs and robbery offences, stopped at a bar in the wee hours Saturday morning, about four hours before he first fired bird shot at traffic police. Then, 90 minutes later, he attacked the military patrol at Orly, causing panic and the shutdown of the French capital's second-biggest airport.

Yelling that he wanted to kill and die for Allah, Belgacem wrestled away a soldier's assault rifle but was shot to death by two other soldiers before he could fire the military-grade weapon in Orly's busy South Terminal, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said.

In an interview Sunday with French radio Europe 1, a man identified as the suspect's father said Belgacem wasn't a practicing Muslim and had drunk alcohol.

"My son was never a terrorist. He never attended prayer. He drank. But under the effects of alcohol and cannabis, this is where one ends up," said the father. Europe 1 did not give his name.

The father was released from police custody overnight Saturday. Belgacem's brother and a cousin were released later Sunday.

Belgacem called his father and brother early Saturday morning minutes after he fired at a police traffic patrol, injuring an officer in the face to say that he had made a stupid mistake, according to Molins, the prosecutor. …

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