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France: Stabbing Suspect 'Heard Voices' Telling Him to Kill

'Psychotic' suspect killed 1, injured 8 in Lyon
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 2, 2019 12:01 AM CDT
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A police officer stands next to the place where an assailant who stabbed one person to death and injured nine others has been arrested, Saturday Aug.31, 2019 just outside a subway station in Villeurbanne, outside Lyon, central France.   (AP Photo/Nicolas Vaux-Montagny)
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(Newser) – An Afghan man was in a "psychotic state" and on drugs during a stabbing in France that killed one person and injured eight others, but investigators haven't found any terrorist ties, a regional prosecutor said Sunday. A psychiatric evaluation of the man in custody for Saturday's attack revealed he was experiencing "paranoid delirium," prosecutor Nicolas Jacquet said. The suspect reported he "heard voices" telling him to kill, according to Jacquet. A 19-year-old man died after being stabbed with a knife in the attack outside a subway station in the Lyon suburb of Villeurbanne, the AP reports. The prosecutor thanked passers-by who surrounded and apprehended the assailant before police arrived. "Their courageous, responsible intervention was decisive," Jacquet told reporters.

The man from Afghanistan in custody has been living in a French center for asylum-seekers, and held a temporary French residency card, Jacquet said. The suspect was first recorded in France in 2009, and subsequently traveled to Britain, Italy, Germany, and Norway before returning to France in 2017. After the stabbings, the suspect gave "incoherent" accounts and three different dates of birth to police, Jacquet said. The suspect was not on any radicalism watch list, Jacquet said. Officers searched the suspect's residence as part of the investigation, and "nothing was found showing any kind of radicalization," he said. Villeurbanne Mayor Jean-Paul Bret said the man held is the only person suspected of wielding the knife. The mayor also called anti-migrant politicians "shameless" for seizing on the stabbings to push their views.

(Read more France stories.)

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