The police officer gunned down on the Champs-Elysées yesterday was a seven-year veteran of the force—and proud gay man. Xavier Jugelé, 37, was killed when a gunman opened fire on the famed boulevard Thursday evening, an attack the Islamic State has since claimed responsibility for. (Two other officers and a bystander were also wounded and the assailant was shot and killed.)
Jugelé “was a simple man who loved his job, and he was really committed to the LGBT cause,” Mickaël Bucheron, president of Flag, the French association for LGBT police officers, told The New York Times. “He joined the association a few years ago, and he protested with us when there was the homosexual propaganda ban at the Sochi Olympic Games.”
It wasn’t Jugelé’s first encounter with terrorism, either: He was one of the officers who responded to the attack on Paris’ Bataclan concert hall in 2015 and was there when Sting reopened the venue a year later.
Jugelé grew up in Romorantin-Lanthenay in central France and was in a civil union. According to reports was he set to leave the Paris gendarmes and join the Judicial Police, which pursues suspects and serves search warrants, among other duties.
“He was aware of the risks of the job and the terrorist threat,” Bucheron said. “although we did not speak a lot about it.” He called Jugelé “a great man and friend.”
Flags at police stations across France are flying at half mast in tribute, and President François Hollande said an official memorial will be held in the coming days.