French waiter shot dead over slow sandwich service, witnesses say
This is a curious story. It sounds like something out of Chicago rather than suburban Paris. So what do we make of it? I can think of only one explanation: The shooter was a Muslim. The shop is in a rough multicultural area so that could be. From what I have seen, many Muslims are sensitive about their "honour". They fly off the handle if they think you are "disrespecting" them. They have very fragile egos.
But who knows what the unfortunate waiter said or did? French waiters have a sometimes deserved reputation for rudeness and arrogance so it could be that the waiter was just being his normal self when he offended the Muslim. Will French waiters up their game after this? Unlikely.
The offender has now been arrested but all we have so far been told about him is that he is a 34-year-old man, described as a "small local bully" ("petite frappe locale"). He is known to the courts for drug trafficking and gun violence, according to a source close to the investigation. His religion is so far unknown
Police in France are hunting for a customer accused of fatally shooting a waiter at a restaurant near Paris because, witnesses said, he was upset over the wait for his sandwich.
The killing took place Friday around 9:15 p.m. at a pizza and sandwich restaurant named Le Mistral in Noisy-Le-Grand, east of Paris, police said. The customer, who has not been identified, had been waiting several minutes for a sandwich — it was unclear what kind — and became angry because he thought it had not been prepared quickly enough, restaurant employees and other witnesses told the local news media.
The man insulted the 28-year-old waiter before producing a 9mm handgun, shooting and seriously wounding him in the shoulder, according to the news network BFMTV. Colleagues who witnessed the shooting called the police. Paramedics arrived quickly, but were unable to revive the waiter. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The gunman fled the restaurant and was still on the run as of Sunday. A police spokesman, Raphaël Biron from the Paris Police Prefecture, confirmed the events, but declined to provide further details because the investigation was continuing.
Paris’s suburbs are replete with many fast-food restaurants, and waiters often work under pressure to deliver customers’ orders quickly and efficiently. But most killings in restaurants have been tied to score-settling and feuds, the authorities said.
On Saturday, stunned residents and shopkeepers gathered outside the pizza and sandwich restaurant after the killing. One woman told reporters that the restaurant, which opened a few months ago, had been quiet and previously had no problems.
Amid growing competition from other global tourist destinations, France over the years has started campaigns to burnish its image, including improving its reputation for gruff dining experiences. Paris’s tourism board, for example, had begun a charm offensive by handing out thousands of pamphlets to cafes, hotels, shops, and taxi ranks titled “Do You Speak Touriste?” in a bid to make travelers feel more welcome.
But the shooting in Noisy-Le-Grand had all the markings of a singular burst of violence. It is part of the Seine-Saint-Denis department, on the outskirts of Paris, where poor social conditions have often led to crimes and social unrest.
News of the killing drew angry reactions on Twitter, including from Jean Messiha, a top member of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, who linked the shooting to “mass immigration.”
But Sylvain Thézard, chief of staff of Noisy-Le-Grand’s mayor, pushed back at any link between the killing and immigration.
“We are shocked by the comments on social networks that make a lot of confusion,” he said. “Crime rates are declining in our city. This murder is by no means the result of a deeper problem. It’s nothing but sad news.”