16 Shot in France at Military Drill

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published: June 30, 2008

PARIS (AP) — A military demonstration drill in southern France on Sunday left 16 people wounded, including children, when real bullets were used instead of blanks, officials said.

Four of the wounded were in serious condition, including a 3-year-old child, said Chief Bernard Lemaire, of the regional administration in Aude, on France-3 television. Fifteen of the wounded were civilians.

A Defense Ministry official said the shooting occurred during a demonstration of hostage-freeing techniques at a military barracks located in the city of Carcassonne. The official said investigators would look into why real bullets were used.

The soldier who fired the shots was detained, Chief Lemaire said. He said that the shooting was most likely an accident but that it could have been a “criminal act.”

No information was immediately available about what kind of gun was used.

In a statement, President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed “horror” at the shooting at the base, which houses the parachute regiment of the Third Marine Infantry.

The wounded were taken to local hospitals, with the most serious cases taken to Toulouse

New York Times

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