A crazed farmer armed with a shotgun killed at least 14 people, including his mother and sister, in a rampage through three eastern French villages Wednesday. It was the worst mass killing in recent French history, police said.
Christian Dornier, 31, suffering from what police said was a fit of madness, shot and seriously injured his father and killed a veterinary surgeon visiting the family farm in Luxiol before fatally turning his weapon on his mother and his newly married sister.
Jumping into a car, he drove through the streets of his village, firing indiscriminately at passers-by, including children.
Luxiol, a hamlet of 140 people, is about 275 miles southeast of Paris near the Swiss border.
Alerted by Dornier's mother, who died later in a hospital, police pursued Dornier through two nearby villages as he continued his shooting spree.
Police said eight people, including an officer, were seriously injured during Dornier's half-hour rampage. After two gun battles with police, the badly wounded Dornier was finally captured. Police said his life was not in danger.
Shooting at everyone he saw, Dornier gunned down a teacher in one village and killed two people in a parked car at an intersection.
Eyewitnesses speaking on French radio said three children strolling in the streets of Luxiol were killed and a man was shot to death inside his kitchen when Dornier opened fire.
Dornier had been under treatment for nervous depression, police said. Georges Dornier, the man's uncle, said in a telephone interview that his nephew was "mildly depressive. I saw him this morning and he was very calm."
The bloodshed was the worst in France since October, 1978, when 10 people were shot to death in a Marseilles bar in what police believe was a gang murder.