French TV reports have released the text messages sent by the man who massacred 84 people in Nice, just minutes before the deadly attack, and they are quite chilling.
Moments before Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel ploughed a truck into crowd at the Bastille Day celebrations, he sent messages detailing his plans.
One reportedly read: “Bring more weapons. Bringing in 5.”
An earlier text reportedly read: “It’s good. I have the equipment.”
They were sent from the mobile found in the truck’s cabin, along with the killer’s driver’s licence and bank card, after police shot him dead.
He also wrote of his “satisfaction at having obtained a 7.65mm pistol” and discussed the supply of other weapons. The text was reportedly sent at 10.27pm to one of the men now in custody following the police swoop on the killer’s friends and “entourage”. It ended, “Bringing in five to C”.
It has also emerged that the police officers who confronted Lahouaiej-Bouhlel in Nice pumped around 20 rounds of ammunition into his truck in the shootout that ended his bloody Bastille Day rampage.
In an affidavit seen by AFP, described Thursday’s bloody confrontation with Lahouaiej-Bouhlel.
“He was at a halt, the front of the vehicle had been completely torn off, the engine was visible,” an officer who was among three stationed at the end of the famed Promenade des Anglais said in his affidavit.
In nightmarish scenes, bodies lay crumpled behind the vehicle while others lay crushed beneath its wheels. The police could hear people weeping and crying for help as others scrambled for safety.
“At first I didn’t understand what was happening,” the officer said. “People were running in every direction.” The officer then spoke about coming “almost face-to-face” with the killer, before another officer on the street then fired two more shots before seeing the driver’s head “slump back onto the window, on the passenger side”.
Authorities have yet to produce evidence that Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had any links to Islamic State, which claimed the attack, but French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said there was no doubt about the 31-year-old Tunisian’s motives.
Speaking in an interview with Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, Mr Valls said: “The investigation will establish the facts, but we know now that the killer was radicalised very quickly. The claim on Saturday morning by Islamic State and the fast radicalisation of the killer confirms the Islamist nature of this attack.”
A psychiatrist who saw Bouhlel in 2004 told French magazine L’Express that the future terrorist came to him because of behavioural problems and that he diagnosed him as suffering from “the beginnings of psychosis.” His sister also confirmed he had been having psychological problems when he left for France in 2005.
It begs the question – if there were signs earlier, why didn’t anyone say anything before?