Femicide in Montpellier: a man kills his ex-wife before committing suicide, what we know

A man armed with a pistol killed his ex-wife before killing himself in front of the Montpellier judicial court, this Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

Femicide in Montpellier: a man kills his ex-wife before committing suicide, what we know

A man armed with a pistol killed his ex-wife before killing himself in front of the Montpellier judicial court, this Tuesday, February 20, 2024. The couple had been divorced since 2016.

Gunfire and two people dead in Montpellier. This Tuesday, February 20, around 2 p.m., a man armed with a pistol shot his ex-wife in the head and killed her in front of the judicial court, then turned the weapon against himself, making her again fire at head level. The man and the victim were aged 72 and 66 respectively, said the public prosecutor of Montpellier,  Fabrice Belargent, during a press conference a few hours after the events. They had been divorced since 2016 and had a court date this Tuesday as part of civil proceedings for the liquidation of assets. The events took place outside the court before passing through the security gates, the man was waiting for his ex-wife in front of the courthouse.

The public prosecutor gave few details on the tragedy that occurred in Montpellier. But he indicated that the man responsible for the shooting was not known to the police and that there were no known procedures for domestic violence between the two ex-spouses and there was also no protection order. The man did not have any history to anticipate the act. According to information from France Bleu Hérault, the man practiced sports shooting.

The preferred avenue at the moment is that of femicide followed by suicide, reports AFP. “We are not dealing with terrorism at all”, but with a case concerning “a man and a woman who were separated”, a source close to the authorities told AFP.

The Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, said he was "horrified by the feminicide which took place in front of the Montpellier court this afternoon" and sent his thoughts "to the victim and her loved ones".

After the gunshots were reported, the police intervened quickly as did the Samu and the firefighters, whose responsiveness was praised by the public prosecutor. The people who were inside the court were confined before being evacuated via the parking lots after the shots were fired. A psychological support unit was launched. In a press release, the magistrate confirmed that the final report showed two deaths. The perimeter was sealed off during the intervention of the police. If the event is over according to the prefecture, the area remains secured by the police.

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