…By Lola Smith for TDPel Media.
A devastating incident unfolded during a family barbecue in northern France, resulting in the tragic death of an 11-year-old British girl, Solaine Thornton.
According to investigators, a dispute with a neighbor “on drugs” escalated into a fatal shooting.
Solaine’s parents also sustained serious head injuries during the attack, which occurred in the hamlet of Saint-Herbot, near Quimper in Brittany.
Suspected Perpetrator and Arrest
The suspected shooter, a 71-year-old Dutch neighbor named Dirk Raats, allegedly fired upon the family through a hedge with a rifle while they were enjoying their evening barbecue.
Solaine was playing on a swing when she was fatally shot.
After barricading himself in his house, Raats was eventually apprehended by elite firearms officers.
His wife was also arrested.
Authorities have revealed that tests conducted after the arrest indicated that Raats was under the influence of drugs.
Ongoing Investigation and Condition of the Family
Raats is currently in custody as the investigation into the murder of a child and two attempted murders continues.
Solaine’s father, Adrien Thornton, remains in critical condition with life-threatening wounds, while her mother, Rachel Thornton, is also in intensive care after undergoing surgery at Cavale Blanche hospital in Brest.
Background and Neighborhood Disputes
According to a nearby neighbor, the Thorntons had been residing in their converted sawmill property near the local Catholic church for several years.
The incident was not an isolated event, as there had been ongoing disputes between the two families since at least 2020, involving issues related to land and noise pollution.
The local mayor, Marguerite Bleuzen, confirmed previous interventions regarding the dispute but stated that no one could comprehend how the situation escalated to such a tragic outcome.
Grief and Community Response
The village residents regarded the Thorntons as an “adorable, kind, and helpful family.”
The shocking incident has left the community in mourning.
The youngest child, Solaine’s sister Celeste, managed to escape unharmed and sought refuge at a neighbor’s house.
The tragic loss of a child and the grievous injuries inflicted on the parents have left everyone in the community struggling to comprehend the senseless act of violence.
Consular Assistance and Support
The British Foreign Office has stated that they are providing consular assistance to the affected British family and are in contact with local authorities.
The international incident has further highlighted the need for support and coordination between nations during such devastating events.
The heart-wrenching shooting incident resulting in the death of 11-year-old Solaine Thornton during a family barbecue has left the community in shock and grief.Investigations continue as authorities seek to understand the circumstances surrounding the tragic event.
The focus now remains on providing support to the affected family and coming to terms with the incomprehensible loss of a young life.
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