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Hero French cop killed after trading places with hostage to be honored

Lt-Col. Arnaud Beltrame offered to swap places with a hostage who was held by an Islamic extremist in order to save her

By Police1 Staff

PARIS — A slain French officer will be honored for his courage after he swapped places with a hostage being held by an Islamic extremist at a supermarket.

On Monday, a national memorial event for Lt-Col. Arnaud Beltrame’s family and the families of other victims in the attack was announced to take place Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

On Friday, gunman Radouane Lakdim hijacked a car, killing a passenger and injuring the driver. Lakdim then fired six shots at officers who had just finished a jog, hitting one in the shoulder.

Shouting that he was a “soldier of the Islamic State,” Lakdim entered a supermarket, where about 50 people were inside.

The gunman killed two people and took an unknown number of hostages.

Beltrame offered to swap places with one of the hostages and surrendered his weapon to save her life. Beltrame kept his cell phone on during the standoff, which enabled police to hear what was happening inside.

The officer’s quick thinking paid off as authorities went inside the store after hearing gunshots, immediately killing the gunman. Beltrame was killed during the standoff.

“Beyond his job, he gave his life for someone else, for a stranger,” his brother, Cedric, told RTL radio in France. “He was well aware he had almost no chance. He was very aware of what he was doing ... if we don’t describe him as a hero, I don’t know what you need to do to be a hero.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, who will attend and address the memorial event, said Beltrame died “in the service of the nation to which he had already given so much.”

“In giving his life to end the deadly plan of a jihadi terrorist, he fell as a hero,” Macron said.

Inside the market, police found three homemade explosive devices, a handgun and a hunting knife.

Two people close to Lakdim were detained for questioning Monday.