Sofitel massacre

On 5 August 1983 at 3:30 am, gunmen entered a luxury Sofitel hotel in Avignon, France. They killed seven people there in a mass shooting which has been referred to as the Sofitel massacre. Four of those killed were employees and three were customers.[1]

Sofitel massacre
LocationAvignon, France
Date5 August 1983 (1983-08-05)
3:30 a.m. (CEST)
TargetSofitel hotel
Attack type
Mass shooting, robbery
PerpetratorsJean Roussel, François Arpinot, Gérard Rolland

Police believed the gunmen were three robbers who attempted to break into the hotel's safe deposit boxes, and that they killed the victims to eliminate any witnesses. The robbers also took some staff members hostage, apparently to search for a master key of the boxes.[2] The French government was criticised by hotel and restaurant unions as well as the police, demanding tougher action against crime. In addition, it happened after the government abolished the death penalty for murder and in another move made it easier for long-term prisoners to win parole.[2]

Jean Roussel, a 38-year-old robber, was arrested soon after whilst the other suspects escaped. Roussel barely spoke amid the investigation and he died from a heart attack in 1985.[3] In June 1987, François Arpinot, a scrap dealer, and Gérard Rolland, a nightclub bouncer, were sentenced to 18 and 15 years in prison, respectively.[citation needed] It was implied that Roussel launched the robbery to finance his escape, as he was already detained in another case but granted leave.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Été 1983: le massacre du Sofitel d'Avignon". 22 August 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b Lewis, Paul. "7 SLAIN IN BUNGLED ROBBERY AT HOTEL IN SOUTHERN FRANCE". Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  3. ^ Universalis, Encyclopædia. "3-5 août 1983 - France. Polémique après la tuerie du Sofitel d'Avignon - Événement - Encyclopædia Universalis". Encyclopædia Universalis.
  4. ^ "Avignon: le 5 août 1983 à 3h30 du matin, bain de sang à l'hôtel Sofitel". Retrieved 22 July 2020.