Cannes Gun Scare: Man Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison
PARIS – The man who caused a panic when he fired blanks into the crowd gathered to see actors Christoph Waltz and Daniel Auteuil at a live beachside taping of French chat show Le Grand Journal during the Cannes Film Festival in May has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Identified as 43-year-old Stephane Cros from nearby Nice, the man was armed with a replica Smith & Wesson gun and a fake grenade. He said during the hearing that he had hoped to take hostages.
Television channel Canal Plus and production company KM had each asked for €30,000 in damages but were denied compensation.
The newspaper Le Figaro reported that during the trial, Cros handed over handwritten papers that were read by a magistrate. In them he declared that he had hoped to get onto the set and take hostages, quoted philosophers Benedict de Spinoza, Martin Heidegger and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, and railed against international agribusiness giant Monsanto and the mismanagement of local government. The defense argued that he is depressed and lonely, having been cut off from his children for unstated reasons.
Prosecutor Gwenaelle Ledoigt argued that Cros' actions were akin to an act of terror, stating that although they were carried out with a replica gun and dummy grenade, causing panic and inciting fear was the crime. “Using terror and violence to impose his political views, this is the very definition of terrorism,” she said. “I'm not saying this is an act of terrorism, but intellectually the process is the same -- only the degree of violence is different."
No one was injured during the incident; however, initial reports that Cros had fired shots into the crowd made it the most shocking of a particularly eventful Cannes. Aside from the panic at Le Grand Journal, this festival saw two high-profile jewelry heists, multiple robberies and a Psy imposter taking advantage of local restaurants and club owners, as well as fooling festival-goers.