Praise for the “rucksack hero” who stood up to the man who stabbed 4 children in France

The media in France have praised him and refer to this young man as the "hero of the backpack".

Henri, 24, was filmed confronting and chasing with a heavy bag the suspect in the stabbing of four children on Thursday in a park near Lake Annecy, in the south of the country.

The Catholic pilgrim, who has been touring France's cathedrals, said he followed his instincts and did what he could to "protect the weak."

French President Emmanuel Macron praised him for his bravery when the two met on Friday.

Macron told Henri that his actions were a "source of hope" but that the young man had "survived trauma".

The president traveled to meet the victims of the stabbings and honor the first responders for their work.

He said he had heard "positive" news about the condition of the four children injured in the attack, which also injured two adults.


In the images of the attack and what happened immediately after, Henri appears to be seen swinging one of his backpacks towards the attacker, who in turn tried to attack him.

The media in France refer to Henri as “the hero with the backpack”.

Another clip shows Henri chasing the man who was armed with a knife through a grassy area.

The phrase #MerciHenri (thank you Henri) began to trend on social networks, to which the young man responded with a message on Instagram: "Pray for the children, I'm fine."

Henri received messages of thanks, not only for his actions but also for his apparent modesty.

Interviewed this Friday on television, Henri said: "All I know is that it was not there by chance."

He explained that it was "unthinkable to do nothing... I followed my instincts and did what I could to protect the weak."

Henri, who did not want to reveal his last name, is a graduate in administration.

In another interview on Friday, he said he was not the only civilian to put himself at risk and that he had "acted as any Frenchman would."

“Lots of other people stepped in however they could. I saw a park employee try to hit the attacker with his big plastic shovel,” he noted.

Henri's father believes that his son's actions prevented the shooter from hurting more people.

Speaking to the Associated Press news agency, she said her son had "avoided a carnage, scaring him [al atacante]. Really very brave."

A few days before the attack, Henri had been interviewed by the newspaper Dauphine Libere in connection with his nine-month tour of the cathedrals of France, which he planned to complete by walking and hitchhiking.

He was quoted commenting on his trick of randomly knocking on doors near cathedrals to try to find accommodation. “It forces you to open up to people,” he explained.

Commenting on the suggestion that the suspect in Thursday's attacks also identifies as a Christian, Henri said that it was “deeply anti-Christian to attack the vulnerable”.

Now you can receive notifications from BBC News World. Download our app and activate them so you don't miss our best content.

Author Profile

Nathan Rivera
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Nathan Rivera, a dedicated journalist who has had the privilege of writing for the online newspaper Today90. My journey in the world of journalism has been a testament to the power of dedication, integrity, and passion.

My story began with a relentless thirst for knowledge and an innate curiosity about the events shaping our world. I graduated with honors in Investigative Journalism from a renowned university, laying the foundation for what would become a fulfilling career in the field.

What sets me apart is my unwavering commitment to uncovering the truth. I refuse to settle for superficial answers or preconceived narratives. Instead, I constantly challenge the status quo, delving deep into complex issues to reveal the reality beneath the surface. My dedication to investigative journalism has uncovered numerous scandals and shed light on issues others might prefer to ignore.

I am also a staunch advocate for press freedom. I have tirelessly fought to protect the rights of journalists and have faced significant challenges in my quest to inform the public truthfully and without constraints. My courage in defending these principles serves as an example to all who believe in the power of journalism to change the world.

Throughout my career, I have been honored with numerous awards and recognitions for my outstanding work in journalism. My investigations have changed policies, exposed corruption, and given a voice to those who had none. My commitment to truth and justice makes me a beacon of hope in a world where misinformation often prevails.

At Today90, I continue to be a driving force behind journalistic excellence. My tireless dedication to fair and accurate reporting is an invaluable asset to the editorial team. My biography is a living testament to the importance of journalism in our society and a reminder that a dedicated journalist can make a difference in the world.