Who Is Arnaud Beltrame? French Officer Who Traded Places With a Hostage During Terror Attack Dies

A French police officer has died from his injuries after trading places with a female hostage during an attack on a supermarket in southern France by an ISIS supporter on Friday, French authorities said.

Lt. Col Arnaud Beltrame, 45, was shot in the neck after he swapped places with a woman during an attack at the Super U supermarket in Trèbes, France. Radouane Lakdim, 26, stormed into the supermarket and shouted he was an ISIS soldier, opened fire, killed two people and left 15 others injured, authorities said. The Moroccan-born French national was shot and killed by police at the scene.

Interior Minister Gérard Collomb announced the officer's death Saturday, which raises the death toll to four people. Collomb said the country would never forget the bravery of Beltrame.

“Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame has left us. Death for the Fatherland. France will never forget its heroism, its bravery, its sacrifice,” Collomb tweeted on Saturday.

Many are calling the lieutenant-colonel a hero for risking his life to save the woman. French President Emmanuel Macron also tweeted his condolences to Beltrame’s family.

“Lieutenant-Colonel A. Beltrame fell as a hero to put an end to the murderously equipped of a jihadist terrorist. I address to his widow, to his relatives, to his brothers of arms my sincere condolences and I call upon every Frenchman to honour his memory,” French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.

According to The Guardian, Beltrame was from Brittany in western France and had earned military honors, and commendations during his career at the Aude gendarmerie. In 1999, he graduated from France’s elite Saint-Cyr military academy, where his superior officers said he was prepared to “fight to the end and never give up.”

Beltrame went for training for the gendarmerie, and for the Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale, where the missions included hostage rescue and counter-terrorism. After a two-year posting in Iraq, Beltrame earned the military cross in 2007.

For four years, he was part of the Garde Républicaine protecting the Elysée Palace and later went on to become a special adviser to France’s ecology ministry secretary-general. In 2016, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel.