French Jewish family cut down by mystery killer

Mar 20, 2012, 9:38 PM

Associated Press

TOULOUSE, France (AP) – An angry uncle imagines what he would do to the cold-blooded killer of his two young nephews. A woman whose husband and two children have been gunned down spends the night listening to her surviving 1-year-old daughter cry “Papa! Papa! Papa!”

The emotions ran the gamut Tuesday for the family of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and his sons Gabriel and Arieh, three of the four victims killed a day earlier by a helmeted gunman at Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse.

French authorities have deployed hundreds more police to the region for a manhunt for the suspected serial killer whom investigators say also was behind the shooting deaths of three soldiers in the area over the last 10 days.

The fourth victim of the school shooting was the 8-year-old daughter of its principal, Myriam Monsenego. She was grabbed by the hair by the gunman and shot in the temple, according to Nicole Yardeni, who heads the regional chapter of the leading Jewish organization, CRIF. A 17-year-old boy was recovering at a Toulouse hospital after lung surgery for his wounds, she said.

“I have hatred,” said Marc Alloul, a restaurateur in an eastern Paris suburb and great-uncle of the two slain boys. “It’s too bad I don’t have him in my hands because I would deal with him another way. Some others think differently. They leave it in the hands of God.”

Indeed, his niece, Eva Sandler, turned to her faith and sought refuge in the Torah at a wake at the school for her slain husband and 3- and 5-year-old boys, several witnesses said.

“It was beyond what you could imagine. She spoke _ it was incredible _ with dignity,” said Yardeni. “You don’t understand how they find the strength.”

“She lost…,” Yardeni added, her voice trailing off and her eyes welling up. “She still has her little girl,” the child who survived.

That 1-year-old girl, suddenly without her two older brothers, was dressed in a bright pink jacket as hearses moved slowly out of the school grounds to carry the bodies off for flights via Paris to Israel for burial. It was a marked contrast from the black-clad, crying adults in mourning.

Overnight, Alloul said, “I slept with the family, and what gets me the most is that the little girl … cried all night, saying ‘Papa, Papa, Papa!’ _ all night.”

“It tears your heart,” he said. “In the end you just run out of tears for crying so much.”

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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French Jewish family cut down by mystery killer