Posted by Cara McDonough to FindingDulcinea
Real bullets were used instead of blanks during a military demonstration in Aude, France, on Sunday. Officials say the incident was most likely an accident.
Those injured included five children, according to the BBC. Four people were seriously hurt in the shooting, including one of the children, although three have now stabilized. One man who was shot in the chest remains in critical condition.
Some reports state that 17 audience members were wounded in the incident, while others say 16.
The soldier who fired the shots is being detained, although the incident was almost certainly “an unintentional fault,” said Col. Benoit Royal, head of the French army’s information service.
Authorities are still investigating, however.
“I cannot rule out anything because we don’t know what might be going on in a man’s head,” said Defense Minister Herve Morin, who also said that an experienced soldier shouldn’t confuse blanks with real bullets.
According to reports, the soldier had seven to eight years of experience and a perfect record.
The shooting occurred during a public demonstration of hostage-freeing techniques at a military barracks in Aude, in southern France. The soldiers had acted out the demonstration five times already Sunday but the sixth time, real bullets began flying and observers fell to the ground.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy “expressed his horror at the incident" and is awaiting the results of an investigation, the BBC reports.
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