A 16-year-old boy was stabbed to death and at least 17 other people were injured during a night of terror in rural France after an organized gang gatecrashed a village hall event and attacked attendees with knives.
The quaint village of Crépol, located approximately 50 kilometers west of the southeastern city of Grenoble, fell victim to shockingly violent scenes early on Sunday morning when a gang infilitrated the annual winter ball being enjoyed by locals intending to kill people, the village’s mayor said.
Around a dozen thugs descended on the village hall at approximately 2 a.m. on Sunday and sought entry to the event, confronting the security guard on the door.
An altercation ensued outside the premises with the security guard sustaining injuries before the gang began attacking several other attendees of the event seemingly indiscriminately, according to Le Dauphiné libéré newspaper.
In the chaos, a 16-year-old boy was stabbed twice in the chest and throat and, despite being airlifted to Lyon hospital for treatment, died of his injuries.
Two other young people, aged 23 and 28, are understood to be in a critical condition in hospital with stab wounds, while several others were hospitalized after sustaining minor injuries.
“A gang came to kill people,” said mayor of Crépol, Martine Lagut. “They did not come to have fun but to do harm. This tragedy leaves a family in mourning. These were 16-17-year-old children from the surrounding villages who were there. It’s terrible.”
She explained how the victims “found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time” in a brutal two-minute attack.
“They were leaving and these young people arrived with knives to attack them for free. The fight did not take place in the village hall. They waited outside. It only lasted two minutes, it seems,” Lagut said.
“It’s not possible to go and kill people for free! A sensible person can’t think like that! I wonder what is on these people’s minds. We have the impression that they are wild animals,” she added.
Authorities confirmed to French media that no arrests have yet been made.
“According to the first testimonies collected by the investigators, the facts appear to be a settling of scores. The investigation was therefore opened for homicide and attempted homicide by an organized gang. At least ten people from outside Crépol came to the site, around 2 a.m,” said Laurent De Caigny, public prosecutor of Valence.
“They could have come from [the nearby town of] Romans, or perhaps from the Monnaie district. Without us yet having any certainty, investigators are hard at work finding the perpetrators,” he added.
The teenager who died has been named by his local rugby club as Thomas. He was a promising rugby player and the Romanais Tollois club paid tribute to him on Sunday afternoon with a minute’s applause in his honor.
“The players came together and decided to honor the memory of Thomas by playing despite the sadness this afternoon to pay tribute to him,” the club said on social media.
Several national politicians have commented on the attack on social media, including Marion Maréchal, the niece of French nationalist Marine Le Pen and leader of the right-wing Reconquete party’s electoral list for the European Parliament elections next year.
“In Crépol, a village of 550 inhabitants in the heart of the Drôme, a pack of barbarians attacked a private party last night, leaving 17 injured, including two seriously and one stabbed to death, Thomas, 16 years old,” she wrote on X.
“Why this silence, Gérald Darmanin?” Maréchal asked France’s interior minister. “Support for his family, his loved ones, the injured and all the residents shocked by this attack,” she added.
“Crazy are those who refuse to see the beginnings of a civil war,” added French MEP Gilbert Collard.