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Villagers Shut Themselves in Homes Day After Mass Killing

July 13, 1989

LUXIOL, France (AP) _ Fellow villagers expected something terrible of Christian Dornier, but the madness of the strange, brooding man was worse than they had feared.

Dornier shot and killed 14 people - including his mother and sister, and wounded eight others, including his father, in a two-hour rampage on Wednesday.

″It was a bloodbath,″ Dominique Cuenot of the village council said Thursday. ″We knew he would create havoc one day and the police should have dealt with him months ago. Unfortunately, our laws don’t allow such preventive action.″

″Everyone here was afraid of Christian Dornier,″ said Joel Clausse, whose father, Roger, is mayor. ″His behavior was strange. No one ever complained to the police about him, but we all knew.″

This farming village in eastern France had 128 residents when Dornier, 31, picked up his shotgun Wednesday. When his murderous spree was over, seven of them were dead, including three children.

He killed seven more from nearby villages and seriously wounded eight people.

Joel Clausse saw Dornier driving up in his car Wednesday, pointing his double-barreled shotgun through the window.

″From my upstairs window, I saw he was pointing his gun directly at my mother, so I aimed my own gun at him and fired,″ Claussee said. ″I saw the blood spurting from a wound in his neck, but then he fled and I saw nothing more of him.″

Joel’s mother, Ginettte, said she owes her life to her son. Her 5-year-old niece, Pauline, was killed while playing in the garden.

Christian Dornier’s killings began with his sister, Corinne, 26, who was married only last Saturday.

″There was no argument or quarrel of any kind,″ said Dornier’s younger brother, Serge. ″He picked up his gun and fired it point-blank at Corinne, killing her instantly. Then in the mad scene that followed, my mother, Jeanne, telephoned to the police for help. He fired and killed her, too.″

Dornier’s father, Georges, 63, was one of the eight people hospitalized with serious wounds.

Daniel Maillard, Corinne’s husband, escaped only because he was in the toilet, Serge said.

Then Christian Dornier got in his car, a black Volkswagen, and set off on his shooting spree. He was seriously wounded when police caught up with him and opened fire, and was being treated in a Besancon hospital Thursday under police guard.

In Paris, an anti-hunting group called for tighter controls on firearms used by hunters, which are much easier to obtain than tightly regulated handguns and other weapons.

The Rally of Opponents to Hunting issued a statement saying hunting weapons should be taken away from ″from people under therapeutic medicine,″ and even hunters out of season.

Serge Dornier works for the Peugeot automobile manufacturing plant at Montbeliard and, like many young Frenchmen, has little interest in farming. He said the family had agreed Christian should ultimately take over the farm from his parents, and it would be sold if if he could not work it on his own.

Serge estimated the 148 acres were worth about $60,000.

″Christian was a taciturn, depressed fellow,″ Serge said of his brother. ″He had no friends, hardly ever talked to anyone. A few weeks ago he suddenly got a punk haircut. He did strange things like that and we did not pay much attention.″

People in the village began to talk, including neighbor Remy Barrand, who said Christian shot at him last month, and a farmer’s wife who said he pelted her with stones early one morning a few weeks ago.

The village council discussed what to do and decided no action was called for because Christian Dornier had never been in trouble with the law.

″We advised the family to get him psychiatric treatment, and they did,″ said Jacques Fleury, a council member.

A psychiatrist came regularly from nearby Baume-les-Dames and prescribed tranquilizers, but Serge said his brother did not take them.

″We thought something happened to him during his 12 months’ military service about eight years ago,″ Serge said. ″He was never the same after that.″

Three children playing in their gardens or bicycling were among those killed from Christian Dornier’s car. So were several elderly people in nearby villages, a farmer driving his tractor in a field, the schoolteacher at neighboring Autechaux and the wife of the mayor of nearby Voilans.

The teacher and mayor’s wife arrived at a crossroads, in separate cars, simultaneously with Dornier. Both were shot to death and their cars crashed.

Capt. Rene Sarrazin, police commander at Baume-les Dames, was struck by bullets in his neck and groin while driving to Luxiol in response to Mrs. Dornier’s call. He was undergoing emergency treatment Thursday. The bodies of the victims were laid out in the various town halls and were to be buried simultaneously Friday.

All celebrations of Friday’s 200th anniversary of the French revolution were canceled in the region.

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