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French killer's 'bin Laden wish'

Durn wanted to be remembered as a mass killer, letters showed  

PARIS, France -- The French loner who killed eight local councillors then leapt to his death from a Paris police headquarters left a suicide note saying he wanted to be as hated as Osama bin Laden, according a French press report.

"I want to have the same stature as bin Laden, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Milosevic...," Richard Durn, 33, wrote, said the daily Le Parisien on Friday.

A female friend said she received the letter on Wednesday after he had gunned down the councillors in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.

"I've decided to put an end to my life, but before that, I'm going to be a serial killer," he wrote in the letter quoted in the newspaper.

"I've gone mad, become a drop out and therefore I must die," he wrote in a long testament found at his home, the daily Liberation reported. "For months now, thoughts of carnage and death have filled my head."

Durn, a skilled marksman, also wounded 19 others before he was overpowered at the Nanterre council meeting.

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He killed himself a day later on Thursday by leaping from a fourth-floor window during his interrogation at the headquarters of the Paris Criminal Brigade.

Officers tried in vain to hold him back by the legs, police said.

"When he was asked to rise to consult a document on the desk of an interrogator, Durn suddenly rushed to a window, opened it and scrambled out onto the roof," a police statement said.

In a farewell letter to his mother, Reuters reported that Durn wrote: "Mama, I should have died a long time ago. I don't know what to do with my life, not even how to die without hurting others.

"But now, I'm fed up with this cowardice... I should die at least with the feeling of being free and getting a kick out of it. That's why I should kill some people. For once in my life, I'll have an orgasm."

His final words in the letter to his mother were: "Be happy and brave, especially with all the idiots who'll hassle you. Love, Richard."

Police officers tried, in vain, to hold Durn back before he jumped
Police officers tried, in vain, to hold Durn back before he jumped  

Prosecutors in Paris have opened an inquiry into Durn's death.

He was being questioned about France's worst mass killing in years before he was due to face a judge. (Full story)

Interior Minister Daniel Vaillant said the suspect's death seemed to him "a case of serious malfunctioning" on the part of the police.

Nanterre mayor Jacqueline Fraysse, who survived as council colleagues slumped over dead around her, was appalled that Durn had been able to slip away so easily.

"There are councillors who, putting their lives in danger, were able to hold this man and disarm him to hand him over to the police," she said on France 2 radio.

"But at the Quai des Orfevres, they're not capable of overseeing him."

Samuel Rijik, a municipal official in Nanterre, who survived the massacre, expressed disappointment that Durn would never stand trial.

"I would have liked to know the truth about his past ... to know where the fault lines were," said Rijik, who hid under a table during the shooting.

The shooting rampage seemed set to become an issue in France's upcoming presidential election where crime had already risen to top the election agenda. (Full story)


• Eight die in Paris gun attack
March 28, 2002

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