Beliefnet News

Frans Timmermans via Twitter

Frans Timmermans via Twitter

He made the ultimate sacrifice.

French police officer Arnaud Beltrame died after voluntarily taking the place of a female hostage during a recent terrorist attack on a Super U supermarket in Trèbes, southern France. An ISIS-inspired gunman killed Beltrame and three others. He was a devout Christian.

Beltrame, who once served in Iraq, was part of a team of gendarmes who were among the first to arrive at the supermarket scene; most of the people in the supermarket escaped after hiding in a cold storage room and then fleeing through an emergency exit.

The Lieutenant-Colonel offered to trade places with a hostage the attacker was still holding, by strategically leaving his phone on as he entered the supermarket so that his colleagues could hear any conversation between him and the terrorist.

Beltrame was shot in the neck by jihadist Radouane Lakdim prior to police storming the supermarket. When shots rang out, elite police were alerted and went in to kill the assailant. Beltrame was shot three times according to police sources. The heroic move that saved another person’s life cost him his own life.

In an interview with the BBC, Beltrame’s brother Cedric explained how Beltrame knew he “didn’t have a chance,” adding that his heroic actions went “beyong the call of duty.”

“He gave his life for strangers,” Cedric said. “He must have known that he didn’t really have a chance. If that doesn’t make him a hero, I don’t know what would.”

“Arnaud Beltrame died in service of the nation to which he had already given so much,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement. “He fell as a hero, giving up his life to halt the murderous outfit of a jihadist terrorist.”

When Beltrame served in Iraq in 2005, he was the recipient of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest military award. He was a devout Catholic, having experienced a genuine conversion in 2008, according to the Catholic Herald.

Beltrame didn’t hide his faith. In fact, he radiated and bore witness to it, Fr. Dominque Arz, national chaplain of the gendarmerie told French Catholic magazine, Famille Chrétienne.

“We can say that his act of self-offering is consistent with what he believed,” Arz said. “He served his country to the very end, and bore witness to his faith to the very end.”