Hero cop marries moments before dying
COLONEL Arnaud Beltrame, 44, gave himself up to the gun-wielding extremist when the shop was stormed by in Trebes, near Toulouse.
The brave officer secretly left his phone on so officers outside could hear what was happening inside - meaning they knew to storm the supermarket straight away when they heard gunshots.
It has now emerged he wed partner Marielle while on his death bed in a hugely moving ceremony performed in a hospital in Carcassonne, in the south west of the country.
His bride was left in floods of tears as they said their prayers in the Catholic ceremony before the hero succumbed to his four bullet wounds.
The couple had already been planning a church wedding in June after meeting during a tour of an abbey in France in 2016.
A priest identified only as Father Jean-Baptiste on Saturday described how the couple had "spent some 30 hours preparing for their marriage ceremony".
He added: "I gave him the sacrament of marriage, and the sacrament of the sick", explaining the soldier was an "extremely intelligent and courageous man".
Surgeons had worked through the night to save him but Interior Minister Gérard Collomb confirmed he lost his battle this morning, writing on Twitter: "He died for his country. France will never forget his heroism, his bravery, his sacrifice."
Paying tribute, President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday: "Lieutenant-colonel Arnaud Beltrame died serving the country to which he had already given so much. In giving his life to bring to an end the murderous actions of a jihadist terrorist, he has fallen a hero."
Colonel Beltrame was one of 16 people injured in the atrocity after the attacker, Moroccan Redouane Lakdim, 25, went on a deadly four-hour rampage.
His brother Cedric told a French radio station today that Arnaud "didn't have a chance."
He said: "He gave his life for strangers. 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."
Paris counter-terrorism investigators took over the probe into the attack in Trebes and nearby Carcassonne.
With the police under fire over missed opportunities to prevent the attack, cops arrested a 17-year-old in connection with the atrocity.
The unidentified young man was arrested overnight over an alleged link with Lakdim, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins confirmed.
Molins also said an unnamed woman who "shared his [Lakdim's] life" was taken into custody on the same grounds.
It has since emerged that Lakdim was known to the French security services as a potential Islamist radical, but he was not under surveillance at the time of his death.
Collomb described Redouane Lakdim as a "radicalised petty criminal and small-time drug dealer" who "decided to act".
He began his shooting at around 10am just after reportedly dropping his little sister off at school.
He killed a driver and wounded a passenger as he hijacked their car near the town of Carcassonne.
The attacker then exchanged gunfire with nearby cops before speeding to the Super U supermarket, where he shot and killed two people before rounding up hostages.
The manager of the besieged French supermarket, Samia Menassi, said she felt "helpless" as he fired shots in her store, and praised Beltrame for saving her co-worker's life.
She was in her office when the sound of gunshots tore through the store, forcing her to call the police and dash downstairs to evacuate "as many people as possible".
"It was terrifying," she said of the latest act of terrorism to plague the country in recent years.
Molins said Lakdim had screamed "Allahu Akbar" and claimed to be a "soldier of the Islamic State". ISIS later claimed responsibility.
Colonel Beltrame had taken part in a police training exercise that centred around a supermarket shooting just three months ago.
He told the local Independent newspaper in December: "A mass killing took place in a supermarket. This is the only information that was given to the police.
"We want to be closer to real conditions, so there is no pre-established scenario".
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb and Molins praised the gendarme's actions.
Mollins said that "at the risk of his life took the choice to take the place of the hostages".
Collomb said: "I want to hail the courage of the lieutenant-colonel who took the hostage's place and who is now seriously wounded."
Christian Guibbert, one of about 50 shoppers inside the market, said the shooter ran after him but he escaped through an emergency exit.
Shop worker Jacky, told Europe 1 radio he "heard people shouting and a big 'boom.' It was a gunshot, then a second gunshot.
"After that, my colleagues came toward me saying: 'Come on Jacky, we need to leave! There's someone who's firing shots, he's shouting "Allahu akbar".
Lakdim requested the release of Salah Abdeslam, the sole surviving assailant of the November 2015 attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead.
Police negotiators even brought Lakdim's mother, who lived locally, to the scene to try to call off the carnage.
Macron rushed back from an EU summit in Brussels to Paris, where counter-terrorism investigators took over the investigation.
France has been on high alert since a series of extremist attacks in 2015 and 2016 that killed more than 200 people.
Macron said that while France hasn't had an attack in several months "the threat remains high".
He described ongoing risks from "several individuals who radicalised themselves."
This story was originally published in The Sun and is republished with permission.