French Police Officer Dies A Hero In Hostage Crisis

French Police Officer Dies A Hero In Hostage Crisis

A French police officer who swapped himself for a hostage in a supermarket siege on Friday has died, officials say.

Lt-Col Arnaud Beltrame, 45, "fell as a hero" and showed "exceptional courage," French President Emmanuel Macron said, report the BBC and CNN.

He said, "Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame died serving the nation to which he had already given so much."

The gendarme helped bring an end to a gunman's shooting spree that killed three in southern France.

The radical Islamist gunman, 25-year-old Redouane Lakdim, was shot dead as police brought the siege to an end.

Announcing the police officer's death on Twitter, Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said: "He died for his country. France will never forget his heroism, his bravery, his sacrifice."

Earlier, Macron had revealed that Lt-Col Beltrame had suffered serious injuries and was fighting for his life in hospital.

The gunman shot Beltrame when he responded to Friday's supermarket attack in the southern French city of Trèbes. Beltrame offered to exchange himself for one of the female hostages held inside the Super U supermarket during the attack, and was shot while entering the supermarket.

Collomb announced the officer's death Saturday, which raises the number of people killed to four.

Sixteen people were injured, two seriously, in what Macron called an act of "Islamist terrorism."

Lakdim was said to have demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam, the most important surviving suspect in the 13 November 2015 attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people.

One person – believed to be Lakdim's partner – has been arrested in connection with the shootings.

Image credit: French Interior Ministry