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French Police Officer Who Traded Himself For A Hostage Has Died

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A hero died overnight. Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame was 45 years old and a gendarme, a French police officer. Yesterday, a man who said he was aligned with ISIS hijacked a car in southern France, killed someone, burst into a supermarket, where he killed two more people, and took customers hostage.

Lieutenant Colonel Beltrame persuaded the gunman to release a woman being used as a human shield in exchange for making himself a hostage. The officer left his mobile phone on a table so police could hear what happened inside. They heard shots. A tactical team swarmed into the market. The gunman was killed, but Arnaud Beltrame was injured and died last night.

France's interior minister, Gerard Collomb, said of the lieutenant colonel, he died for his country. France will never forget his heroism, his bravery, his sacrifice. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.