Photo-journalist attacked in Reims: A suspect in custody for “aggravated attempted murder”
Anes Saïd K. (21) placed in provisional detention after having remained silent during his custody.
by Aude Bariéty
March 3, 2021
This Wednesday, 3 March, the Republic Prosecutor of Reims, Matthieu Bourrette, announced the indictment of the principal suspect in the attack on the photo-journalist Christian Lantenois. Anes Saïd K., an Algerian, 21, who has lived in Reims for three years, was charged with “aggravated attempted murder” and placed in provisional detention. He faces life imprisonment.
This ultra-violent attack took place Saturday, 27 February in the afternoon, in the space of 57 seconds, in a parking area of the library of the Croix Rouge quarter of Reims. Shortly after 3pm, while the photo-journalist of the Union-L’Ardennais was trying to take some photos of a group of youths who were obviously preparing to fight with other youths, he was spotted by several individuals.
Christian Lantenois then tried to get back into the passenger side of his vehicle, but didn’t have time. A youth rushed up to him, struck him with blows from a stick, then with his own camera. “A second individual was seen swinging a baton in the direction of the victim, but it appears that the blows struck the ground and not Christian Lantenois,” declared the prosecutor during a press conference.
Attacked because of his profession
“It is obvious that the presence of Christian Lantenois embarrassed the individuals who were preparing to commit violence, and that he was attacked as he was exercising his profession as a photo-journalist, and for this reason,” emphasized Matthieu Bourrette, all while noting that “this element is not an aggravating circumstance on a strictly legal level.”
“It is probable that the group of individuals who spotted him wanted not only to attack him, but also to recover the memory card of his camera and the photos taken,” continued the magistrate. After the events, the camera was recovered without its memory card.
The personnel at the library came to the assistance of the wounded man before emergency personnel arrived at the scene at about 3:30. The 60+-year-old man was treated at the scene for an hour and a half before being transported to the CHU. His vital prognosis is today still engaged (urgent/unstable). Placed in an artificial coma, he suffers notably from very severe cranial trauma and cerebral hemorrhaging.
The 21-year-old man suspected of beating the photo-journalist was identified and apprehended on Monday, March 1, “on the public highway”. Placed in custody, Anes Saïd K. maintained “complete silence”. “No hearing could be held,” explained the prosecutor, who described, “a rather irritated individual.”
The Algerian is not unknown to the justice system: “Sentenced eight times between 2018 and 2019, in particular for acts of burglary, use of drugs, and group violence, he was incarcerated in Reims from 16 April to 19 May for not having done the public service work he was obligated to do.
In the meantime, investigations continue to identify and apprehend the other persons implicated in this attack, which has aroused an immense stir, not only locally, but within the media world and with numerous responsible politicians, including the Élyseé Palace.