The individual identified as Kassogue S. had come to France with the intention to kill. Described as “half vagabond and half unbalanced,” his victim’s life-threatening condition is still uncertain, as stated by the public prosecutor on Sunday. Medicines found among his personal belongings, along with a hospital appointment ticket from Turin, where he had previously been interned, support this claim. Due to his “psychiatric condition incompatible with restraint,” his custody was lifted on Saturday evening for him to be taken to the psychiatric infirmary of the Paris police headquarters.
Once called the “special infirmary,” this unit operates as a unique sorting station for severe contemporary neuroses and psychoses. During his apprehension, he even presented a valid driver’s license to the police. The prefect of police, Laurent Nuñez, confirmed that the license was issued in 2019 and fully valid. The 30-year-old expressed a desire to “kill people” during questioning by the judicial police.
However, his presence had not raised any concerns, as this “walking time bomb” was unknown to the authorities in both France and Italy. In the hours following his arrest, the police investigated a TikTok account registered under the assailant’s name, where a black man with glasses, a beard, and short hair can be seen in videos. In one video dated December 2, 2023, the account owner wrote an enigmatic message: “RIP (rest in peace, editor’s note) in three months, may Allah welcome me to his paradise.” In other videos, he expressed resentment towards France, referencing the French military intervention in Mali, stating “Africa should never forgive France.”
Throughout his custody, Kassogue S. continued to condemn the “colonial past” of France. While the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office stated that it remains “under observation,” the prefect of police specified that the initial findings of the investigation “do not suggest a terrorist act.” However, many voiced refusal to solely interpret the knife attack at the Gare de Lyon from a psychiatric perspective. According to Frédéric Lauze, the head of the National Union of Commissioners, “this is not just an isolated incident.
Homicide attempts have increased by almost 80% over the past ten years, reflecting the deteriorating security situation for over twenty years.” In the shadows of this tragedy, which left three injured, including one serious, emerges a country sinking deeper into everyday violence.