French officials investigate, condemn soccer violence after shooting death
November 24, 2006 7:33pm CST
PARIS (AP) -- A plainclothes police officer who shot to death a Paris soccer fan as he and an Israeli club supporter were under attack by a gang of hoodlums likely acted in self-defense, the Paris prosecutor said Friday. French authorities, led by President Jacques Chirac, condemned the racially based violence that has been a constant backdrop among supporters of Paris Saint-Germain and erupted into a deadly incident after Thursday night's UEFA cup match between Paris Saint-Germain and Hapoel Tel Aviv, which won 4-2. One man was killed and another seriously injured, apparently with a single shot in the skirmish in which some PSG supporters shouted racial epithets. The officer was trying to protect a French Jew from the gang of PSG supporters, officials said. Prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin said a judicial investigation would be formally opened Saturday. The officer, identified as Antoine Granomort, was confronted with "a horde ... of extremely excited, extremely violent and extremely aggressive people," Marin said on France-Info radio. The officer's aggressors were two to three feet away when a single shot was fired, Marin said. The prosecutor's office identified the dead man as 24-year-old Julien Quemener. Granomort has been questioned about how the incident unfolded to determine when he fired and under what circumstances. "They were shouting 'filthy Jew,' and when they saw our colleague, who comes from the Caribbean, they also yelled, 'filthy black, we're going to get you," said Luc Poignant, a police union official. Chirac condemned the racist remarks as "shameful." They "inspire a feeling not only of condemnation, not only of stupefaction -- but also of horror," the president said at a summit meeting in Italy. Police said the two men who were shot were members of PSG's far-right fan base that has a notorious violent and racist history. Some 200 members of the group, the Boulogne Boys, met outside the Parc des Princes stadium Friday night to issue a call for calm. "We are, of course, appalled by what happened and call for calm from all Parisian supporters," a statement handed out by the group said. Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said some PSG fans shouted "Death to the Jew" as they attacked the Hapoel fan. The police officer responded with tear gas but was knocked to the ground by a blow to the head and kick to the stomach, Sarkozy said. He then drew his gun and opened fire. "Two men fell to the ground, of which one died from his wounds, while the other suffered a lung injury," Sarkozy said. Overt racism has become increasingly common at PSG's Parc de Princes stadium, with insults and monkey chants often directed at black players. Hooligan gangs also often look to fight black and Arab members of multiethnic rival gangs at the stadium during games. AP Sports Writer Jerome Pugmire in Paris and Pierre-Antoine Souchard contributed to this report.