‘Incel’ man arrested on suspicion of planning mass murder in Bordeaux

Contrary to other reports, there is no evidence he planned to act during the Olympic torch relay, said local prosecutor

The man was arrested in the commune of Eysines, Gironde (Nouvelle-Aquitaine), near Bordeaux, the prosecutor has confirmed
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A 26-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of planning a mass killing in Bordeaux.

The man - identified only as Alex G. - was arrested in Eysines (around 9 km from the centre of Bordeaux), the local prosecutor said, after a tip-off via the government platform Pharos on May 17. Pharos is a government website created to enable people to report illicit content and behaviour online.

The suspect had written a post “that could appear apologist and making reference to a mass murder in California, on May 23, 2014”, said the Bordeaux prosecutor, Frédérique Porterie. 

The suspect is said to have a “fascination” with the Isla Vista attack in the US, which killed seven people and injured 14 others.

‘Incel’ associations

Initial investigations have found that the man has no previous criminal convictions. He is thought to be associated with the ‘incel movement’. 

‘Incel’ is a portmanteau term for ‘involuntary celibate’, and it is used to describe an online community of men - sometimes called a ‘subculture’ - who blame women, feminism and society for their inability to find the sexual or romantic partners they believe they deserve. 

The movement has become associated with radicalism and violent extremism, after several attackers around the world have been identified as part of the group. Just today, a Scottish minister has warned that incel violence could be “as serious as Islamist terrorism”.

The perpetrator of the Isla Vista attack was also associated with the incel movement, had planned his attack, and wrote a 137-page “manifesto” prior to the killings, calling it “retribution”. He planned to kill women because he could not get a girlfriend, and kill attractive men that he envied.

‘Psychologically very fragile’

The man in Bordeaux has admitted to having wanted to plan his own murders, without specifying a location, after having suffered what he felt was an insult. Searches of his home revealed a revolver and several mobile phones. A laptop was also seized.

Contrary to previous reports, however, Mr Porterie said that there was no evidence that the suspect had planned to carry out the act during the Olympic torch relay in Paris. This contradicts a X (Twitter) post by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

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“People close to him have said that he is psychologically very fragile,” said the prosecutor. “However, the psychiatrist appointed has not revealed any particular disorder.”

A judicial investigation is now being opened, on the grounds of “criminal apologist [leanings] and criminal conspiracy”. Mr Porterie has also recommended that the suspect be remanded in custody pending further investigation.