Who is Nahel Merzouk? The teen shot dead by police in France

‘We left the house at the same time. He went to get a McDonald’s’

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Wednesday 05 July 2023 12:16 BST
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Mother of teenager fatally shot by French police shares last words she exchanged with son

France has seen six consecutive nights of violence and unrest after police shot a 17-year-old boy during a traffic check in Paris.

Thousands have been arrested since clashes first erupted on Tuesday night in and around the Paris suburb of Nanterre where Nahel Merzouk was killed.

"I lost a child of 17-year-old, they took my baby," the mother said in a TikTok video.

"He was still a child, he needed his mother. This morning he gave me a big kiss and told me he loved me. I told him be careful and I loved him."

According to his mother, they both had left the house together. While he went to get a McDonald’s takeout, she left for work.

"And then I am told they shot my son, what can I do," the heartbroken woman said.

"I only had him. I didn't have 10 like him. He was my life, my best friend. He was my son, He was my everything."

L’Ile-Saint-Denis city hall damaged during the riots in Paris
L’Ile-Saint-Denis city hall damaged during the riots in Paris (AFP via Getty Images)
Aftermath of clashes between protesters and police in Mons-en-Baroeul northern France
Aftermath of clashes between protesters and police in Mons-en-Baroeul northern France (REUTERS)
This photograph taken 29 June 2023 in Brest, western of France shows a Biocoop, an organic supermarket partly burnt, two days after a 17-year-old boy was shot in the chest by police at point-blank range in Nanterre, a western suburb of Paris
This photograph taken 29 June 2023 in Brest, western of France shows a Biocoop, an organic supermarket partly burnt, two days after a 17-year-old boy was shot in the chest by police at point-blank range in Nanterre, a western suburb of Paris (AFP via Getty Images)

The victim's grandmother, who also remained unidentified said: “I will never forgive them. My grandson died, they killed my grandson. We are not happy at all, I am against the government."

“They killed my grandson, now I don't care about anyone, they took my grandson from me, I will never forgive them in my life, never, never, never.”

A video shared on social media showed two police officers beside a Mercedes AMG car, with one shooting at the teenage driver at close range as he pulled away.

He died shortly afterward from his wounds, the local prosecutor said.

The teenager, who was too young to hold a full license in France, was driving illegally, a source familiar with the investigation told Reuters.

The Nanterre prosecutor said the boy failed on Tuesday to obey the officers’ orders.

A lawyer for Nahel's family, Yassine Bouzrou, said they want the police officer prosecuted for murder instead of manslaughter.

He said he would file an additional complaint for false testimony over the allegation that the victim had tried to run over the police officer.

President Macron said the killing was “inexplicable and inexcusable” and called for calm. “Nothing justifies the death of a young person,” he told reporters in Marseille on Wednesday.

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