“This kind of thing never happens here.”
That is what residents in the French city of Annecy have said repeatedly since the senseless and unexpected wounding of four young children and two adults in a playground.
Of course, no one expects such a violent attack – targeting the youngest and most vulnerable – in their community. But this incident has left people shaken.
I visited the playground a few hours after the attack as locals were gathering to lay flowers – mostly white roses – in tribute to the injured.
There I met Makram Attia, a delivery man who was on the street next to the park that surrounds the playground just moments after the attack.
He witnessed the dramatic arrest of the suspect.
“I wasn’t thinking it could be an attack in a children’s park right here in Annecy, it’s impossible. I couldn’t know what was happening,” he said.
“People were running everywhere. I asked myself what it could be.
“And after we were informed that there had been an attack on old people and on children, that’s the moment we really freaked out.”
Returning to the park later to lay a rose on the wall of the playground, Mr Attia brought with him his own children, Amine, 11, and Lilia, 9.
Both attend a school close to the park.
Amine was in technology class when he was told something bad had happened nearby.
“We couldn’t leave before they caught the man,” he said.
“Was it scary?” I asked.
“Yes. We all flipped out. The windows were opened and we listened to the police and the firemen,” he said.
Mr Attia felt it was important he brought the children here following the tragedy.
“It’s a place we come by every weekend. It’s a place children come, in this very park to play often, every weekend in the summer.
“It’s horrible. I don’t have any words to describe that – an attack against children. It can’t be.”