(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
PARIS - The man who deliberately drove his car into diners at a pizzeria outside Paris told investigators he had a long history of medical drug abuse and wanted to be sent to prison for safety, a French prosecutor said on Tuesday.
A 12-year-old girl was killed and more than a dozen people hurt in the incident in Sept-Sorts, east of the capital.
It was reminiscent to many in France of recent Islamist attacks, but prosecutor Eric de Valroger reiterated that he had ruled out terrorism as a motive.
De Valroger said the 32-year-old man had frequently appeared incoherent while providing often inconsistent answers to investigators' questions.
"He has come across during questioning as being acutely paranoid, making numerous statements that he feels as if he is constantly followed, hunted by the police," de Valroger told a news briefing.
The man, who will later undergo psychiatric tests, faces charges of aggravated murder and attempted murder.
De Valroger said the man revealed he had abused pharmaceutical drugs since the age of nine and taken an excessively large amount of medication a day before plowing his car into the restaurant.
"He told us that if he committed an act that would result in him being sent to prison then he would be safe," the prosecutor said.
The incident occurred less than a week after an Algerian national was arrested on suspicion of deliberately ramming a hire car into a group of soldiers on a patrol in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, injuring six of them.
A counter-terrorism investigation has been opened in that case.