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AKIPRESS.COM - A teenager opened fire at his high school in southeastern France on Thursday, wounding up to four people, in an attack apparently inspired by videos of U.S. mass shootings such as Columbine, officials said, reports Reuters.
The incident in Grasse, which does not appear to be linked to militancy, comes with France on high alert after more than 230 people were killed in the past two years by attackers allied to Islamic State.
"It was total panic," Achraf, a student in the school, said on BFM TV. "The gunshots were at 4 to 5 meters from where we were. We thought the gunman was coming toward us. We heard him shouting."
France's Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem visited the scene in Grasse, a town known for its perfume industry, and said the attack appeared to be "a crazy act by a fragile young man fascinated by firearms".
"His motivations seem to be linked to bad relations he had with other students in school," Grasse prosecutor Fabienne Atzori told reporters.
With a presidential election less than six weeks away, the attack by a 16-year-old armed with a shotgun loaded with lead pellets looked likely to further stoke France's debate on security.
Atzori said 10 people had been hurt in the school attack, either physically or emotionally. One person was shot in the stomach and the headmaster was injured in the shoulder after trying to stop the gunman.
Atzori said the teenager, who fired two or three times, had initially entered a classroom looking for someone in particular.