TOULOUSE (JWN and agencies)—French Interior Minister Claude Gueant announced Tuesday that the murderer of a rabbi and three small children at Toulouse’s Ozar Hatorah school on Monday filmed the atrocity as he shot each one to death.
The school’s video surveillance tapes showed that the cold-blooded killer used a small video camera suspended from his neck, of the type employed by athletes to record their performance.
“This adds another element to the profile of the killer,” Gueant told reporters at a memorial service in Toulouse. “It is someone who is cruel enough to record it. This shows a profile of the murderer as someone who is very cold, very determined, with precise gestures, and therefore very cruel.”
Enhanced security measures have been deployed at Jewish schools and institutions throughout France. Schools all over the country observed a moment of silence yesterday to honor the victims. After a national mourning service in Paris, their four bodies were to be flown to Israel last night for burial Wednesday.
As an intensive manhunt spread over the country, Gueant assured the public that the killer was still in France and would be caught soon. Nevertheless, authorities expressed worry that additional attacks might follow.
This concern follows from the forensic discovery that the same .45 caliber pistol that was used to kill the four victims at the Ozar Hatorah school was used to murder three French paratroopers in two shootings in the nearby town of Montauban less than two weeks before.
“We are concerned about the possibility that they want to commit a fourth attack,” Gueant told Le Figaro.
Witnesses to two of the murders said the killer was short and stocky, rode a black T-Max model Yamaha motor scooter, and wore a black helmet. One person said she saw he had a facial tattoo.
The fact that all seven victims were members of minority groups has led to speculation that the killer was targeting Jews, Muslims, and blacks. The hate crime motive was bolstered when suspicion initially focused on three former paratroopers who were expelled from the French Army in 2008 for neo-Nazi activity.
However, police cleared the three neo-Nazi suspects following their interrogation.
In Jerusalem, the National Insurance Institute announced Tuesday that all four French Jewish victims would be buried in Israel, even though Rabbi Yonatan Sandler did not hold Israeli citizenship. He will be buried with his two murdered sons, Aryeh, 6, and Gavriel, 3, who acquired Israeli citizenship from their Israeli mother. The fourth victim to be buried in Israel is 8-year-old Miriam Monsonego, the daughter of the school’s principal.