Cocaine, alcohol, marijuana found in Paris shooting suspect's blood

Ziyed Ben Balgacem was shot and killed by police at Orly Airport after saying he wanted to "die by Allah."
By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |   March 20, 2017 at 10:07 AM
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March 20 (UPI) -- A suspected Islamist gunman shot to death by police at Paris' Orly Airport consumed cocaine, marijuana and alcohol before taking a soldier hostage, toxicology reports show.

Ziyed Ben Balgacem, 39, announced Saturday he wanted to "die by Allah" and that "people are going to die" before grabbing a soldier's assault rifle, then putting an air pistol to her head and using her as a shield. He was shot by a military patrol within the airport, as the busy South Terminal was evacuated.

Belgacem, who had an extensive criminal record with armed robbery and drug offenses, spent early Saturday drinking at a bar. He later fired a pellet gun at police manning a northern Paris traffic checkpoint, and abandoned a vehicle he carjacked. The car was found at the airport. A toxicology report conducted during an autopsy indicated he had twice the legal limit of alcohol for driving in France; trace amounts of cocaine and marijuana were also found, the Paris prosecutor's office said.

Prosecutor Francois Molins said a Koran was found on Belgacem's body, adding cocaine was discovered during a search of the suspect's residence. His house was among dozens searched after the 2015 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people, Molins said.

A man identified as the suspect's father said in a radio interview after the incident that his son was not a practicing Muslim, adding, "My son was never a terrorist. He never attended prayer. He drank, but under the effects of alcohol and cannabis [marijuana] this is where one ends up."

Moulins said the suspect phoned his father and brother after he fired at the traffic checkpoint, saying he made a mistake. One officer sustained facial injuries in the shooting.

The airport attack came at a moment when France is on edge; the country remains under a state of emergency, and presidential elections begin in April.

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