The first picture of a French teenager who is suspected of open firing at his school today have emerged.
Kylian Barbey, 17, is alleged to have taken shots at the Alexis de Tocqueville lycee, in the French town of Grasse, in an apparent targeted attack against his head teacher Herve Pizzinat.
The picture, uploaded to Facebook, shows a normal-looking teenage boy, smiling to the camera while on a family holiday.
Two pupils identified as Julie, 16, and Akram, 17 were injured by ricocheting bullets, while five others were lightly hurt in the rush to escape.
Kylian is alleged to have stormed the building armed with a rifle, two handguns and two grenades, before firing a series of shots.
One terrified pupil, who described Barbey as “gentle and low-key,” said bullets flew within just metres of terrified students as the screaming gunman fired into the room.
Chilling video posted on ‘France school attacker’s’ Facebook
Eight injured in Grasse school shooting, one suspect arrested
Barbey – who is alleged to be obsessed by American high school shootings and Joker from Batman – was quickly arrested after police swarmed the school in the perfume town, near Cannes.
He allegedly carried out the terrifying attack after watching American-style mass shooting videos, the interior ministry said this afternoon.
His politician father, Franck Barbey, then tweeted: “Heartfelt support for the director, the teachers, the staff, the pupils, and the parents of pupils.”
Mr Barbey is an elected municipal councillor for the hard right Rally for France (RPF) party, which fights globalisation, European federalism, and immigration.
Its members, including Mr Barbey, have traditionaly allied themselves with Marine Le Pen’s National Front.
However, during France’s current presidential election campaign, Mr Barbey is supporting Francois Fillon, of the conservative Republicans party.
The two were pictured together last year.
Barbey junior was allegedly carrying a shotgun, two revolvers and a backpack containing fake grenades when he burst into the main building of his school soon after 1pm.
Eyewitness captures moment police arrive at school shooting
“It was total panic,” said a student identified as Achraf, who described his ordeal to the BFM TV channel.
“The gunshots were just four or five metres from where we were. We thought the gunman was coming towards us. We heard him shouting.
“I just know the gunman by sight. He was gentle and low-key, not a nasty guy.”
Another unnamed witness said he heard four bangs: “I went to close the windows and saw a guy who looked at me in the eyes.
“He seemed to be a student and not very big. He shot in the air and ran away.”
A second attacker was initially thought to be on the run after the incident, which sparked a major terror alert in France.
However, a police source has since said the suspect appears to have acted alone.
A police official has since said the attack does not appear to be linked to terrorism.
The last photo Barbey posted on his Facebook page today was of a Gothic skeleton figure dressed in a black coat and walking with a pistol in one hand an an assault rifle in the other.
Barbey allegedly researched the Columbine High School massacre – a shooting that saw 12 murdered and 21 injured in Colorado in 1999.
“The first investigations suggest he had consulted American-style mass killings’ videos,” said Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet.
A police source added: “The individual does not seem to be known by police.”
One former student at the school told Metropolitan she had spoken to pupils at the school who claimed the suspect was a lonely heavy metal fan.
She said: “The shooter is a student who is dressed in black and who is adept at Satanism.
“He is a fan of Metal, in particular. He is known to be rather lonely.”
Journalist Soren Seelow also tweeted that images “referring to Satanism” had been discovered on the suspect’s social network pages.
Journalist Nicolas Henin, also described him as a “fragile young man” in a tweet earlier today.
Headmaster Mr Pizzinat welcomed his students at the beginning of this academic year with the words: “Do not be afraid here – 850 pupils swim like fish in the waters of this establishment.
He also wrote on the school’s website: ‘Parents and teachers alike….guide the student in the stormy ocean of adolescence and try to avoid the reefs of incivility, the song of the sirens of absenteeism or the abyss of violence.’
A criminal enquiry has been opened into the Grasse shootings, and Barbey is currently in custody at a secure police station.
Earlier in the day, a small parcel containing a firecracker exploded in the face of a secretary at the International Monetary Fund’s Paris office.
The woman suffered head and hand injuries in the blast, and damage to her eardrum.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde, a former French finance minister who is based in the USA, branded the attack “a cowardly act of violence.”
Paris police chief Michel Cadot revealed that IMF staff have received a number of threatening calls in recent days.
It comes after Greek radicals this week claimed responsibility for a parcel bomb that was sent to Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble.
French police are investigating a possible link between the Greek group and today’s attack in Paris.
France has some of the strictest gun laws in the world.
French citizens are banned from owning automatic weapons.
And many other guns require government authorisation and a medical exam, along with a permit from a hunting or sport shooting federation.
Today’s shooting comes as France is on high alert after more than 230 people were killed in the past two years by attackers allied to ISIS.