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View of the cement factory in Grenoble. Photo: Florian Olivo

Seven shootings in ‘French Chicago’ Grenoble recorded since end of June

Territorial struggles between rival crime networks have raged in the capital of the French Alps. Clashes with assault rifles sometimes take place in broad daylight.

Published: August 13, 2020, 11:09 am

    Grenoble

    The gun violence has been terrible for the city: Three dead and four injured. This has been the heavy toll recorded in the Grenoble metropolitan area since the end of June. Against a background of drug trafficking and turf war, rival networks clash violently, aided by early releases during confinement, reported French daily le Parisien.

    Indeed, some drug traffickers have taken advantage of this health measure linked to the risk of Covid-19 contamination in prison, to return to business to take back their sector which had fallen into the hands of rival traffickers. This fact has turned Grenoble into a real “French Chicago”, the Alliance police union already warned in August 2018.

    The hypothesis of a gang war has, for the moment, been ruled out by the police and gendarmerie, because the shootings are not linked to each other they claim. It appears therefore to be a territorial struggle with settling of scores against the backdrop of drug trafficking.

    The first shooting in the latest series took place on June 27, in the city center. Shots rang out in the afternoon, right in the middle of passers-by and bar terraces, miraculously without causing any victims.

    But on the night of July 8, a 22-year-old man was shot dead. On July 11, a car driver was seriously hit in the back by a burst of Kalashnikov fire in the immigrant Mistral district, a major drug trafficking site. Two weeks later, another man was seriously injured in the same area. At the beginning of the month of August, shootings became a daily occurrence and a man who was shot and wounded was dropped off at a clinic. At the same time, another man was shot in the back of the neck in front of a bakery. Finally, a passenger in a car was shot and killed while the driver was injured.

    All the victims of these shootings were already known to the police, mainly for drug cases. But faced with this new wave of ultra-violence, the police are powerless. Yannick Bianchéri, representative of the Grenoble Alliance police union, pointed out that there was lack of staff in the ecological city.

    “We do not manage the security of a city by arithmetic, by calibrating only the police force according to its number of inhabitants. Grenoble is atypical. When delinquents take a gun out there, they don’t only point it, they use it. There are not enough police officers to respond to the insecurity that reigns in the city. The municipality also has a role to play,” the police officer told le Parisien. The inhabitants of the capital of the Alps do no longer feel safe.

    “We’re afraid of a shooting at any time. The authorities must do something,” a mother interviewed by the Paris daily, said.

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