A young Catholic pilgrim, known as “the backpack hero,” is being hailed in France for his brave actions during a knife attack on children in a park in Annecy. Henri, a 24-year-old student studying management and philosophy, witnessed the assailant stabbing children in a stroller while their mother desperately tried to protect them. Video footage captured the backpack hero attempting to block the attacker with one of his backpacks, pursuing him into the playground, and even throwing one of his bags at the assailant.
Referred to as “héros au sac à dos” (the backpack hero) by the French media, Henri’s identity remains mostly undisclosed, with only his first name known to the public. On his social media accounts, he has simply posted a message stating, “Pray for the children, I am ok.” Henri is set to meet with President Emmanuel Macron following the incident.
The knife attack, which occurred in the peaceful French mountain town, left four toddlers and two pensioners injured. Authorities have identified the main suspect as a Syrian refugee. A bystander captured a video of the attack, showing the assailant entering a children’s playground by jumping over a low wall and repeatedly targeting a child in a stroller. Henri is seen pursuing the attacker, hitting him with his backpack, and eventually dropping one of his bags to run faster as the police joined in the pursuit.
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Henri’s Facebook and Instagram accounts have been flooded with messages of gratitude for his courageous actions. People express their admiration, calling him an angel who did not hesitate to intervene and protect others in that critical moment.