One dead in attack on retired missionaries’ home in France

Montpellier, France, Nov 25, 2016 / 09:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- An attack at a French retirement home for missionaries to Africa late on Thursday has left dead one caregiver. The residents have been evacuated and are now safe, but the perpetrator is still at large.

The attacker, armed with a shotgun and a knife, entered the retirement community of Green Oaks in Montferrier-sur-Lez, six miles north of Montpellier, the night of Nov. 24.

The Montpellier prosecutor, Christophe Barret, has said the attack is not believed to be linked to Islamist terrorism, but was a “local” crime with an identified suspect who has ties to the home, the BBC reports.

The community, home to 60 residents, is run by the Society of African Missions. Most residents are members of the Society of African missions, though there are some members of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles and a few laywomen.

Police were notified of the attack after a nurse escaped the scene. The attacker had fled, however. He had stabbed to death one woman, who was 54.

“For us Christians, faced with an absurd gesture that can’t be explained, there is only prayer,” Fr. Francois du Penhoat, provincial of the Society of African Missions, told La Croix after the attack.

Fr. Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, secretary general of the French bishops’ conference, tweeted: “Our prayers reach out also to the missionaries attacked in their retirement home in Herault. May God grant his Peace to all.”

France has been under a state of emergency since Islamic State attacks killed 130 in Paris last November.

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