A bumbling French sniper interrupted President Francoise Hollande’s speech at a rail line inauguration Tuesday with an accidental shot that slightly injured two people, according to reports.
Hollande was speaking at the opening of the Paris-Bordeaux high-speed line in the southwestern town of Villognon when he and the assembled crowd were startled by the sound of gunfire.
The gendarme, who was posted on a roof more than 300 feet away, was changing position when his rifle – whose safety was off – accidentally fired the errant shot, according to the Charente Libre newspaper.
The bullet whizzed through a tent, sliced through a waiter’s thigh and then lodged into the calf of a 20-year-old employee of Mesea, the company in charge of railroad maintenance, the paper reported.
The startled sharpshooter jumped into a kitchen to take cover from himself – hurting his foot in the process, according to reports.
“I hope it’s nothing serious … I don’t think so,” the president said about the gunfire before continuing his speech.
Hollande, who bowed out of the presidential elections amid low approval ratings, later went over to check on the casualties before they were evacuated.
The shooting sparked security fears in France, where a state of emergency has been in effect since November 2015, when 130 people were killed during attacks by ISIS jihadists in Paris.
Police have been given extended powers of search and arrest and security forces have been deployed at high-profile “soft targets” such as the famed Louvre, where authorities fear an attack on civilians.
Last month, a soldier patrolling at the Louvre shot and seriously injured a machete-wielding man who yelled “Allahu Akbar!” – “God is great!” – in what was described as a terrorist attack.