Last Thursday, on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, a single shooter killed a 37-year-old police officer named Xavier Jugelé in the name of IS. For days, the news cycle – President Trump – focused on how that terror attack would impact the French election.
But the biggest impact was on one man, Etienne Cardiles, Jugelé’s life partner. The husband of the French policeman who was shot dead last week has opened up about his ‘extreme and profound pain’.
Tributes have been flooding in for Xavier Jugelé, 37, who was murdered on Thursday while on duty on Champs Elysees avenue, in an attack which has since been claimed by so-called Islamic State. The murderer, the 39-year-old Karim Cheurfi, was killed at the scene. He had served more than 12 years in prison for shooting at police officers and was being investigated by intelligence service at the time.
Jugele’s husband, Etienne Cardiles paid tribute to his “life of joy and laughter”. He spoke about his murdered husband today at a remembrance ceremony led by President Francois Hollande at Paris police headquarters. In front of hundreds of mourners like Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and former president Nicolas Sarkozy and presidential candidates Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, Cardiles described his husband as a lover of music and theatre, and “a man full of culture and joy”.
Xavier Jugelé, who joined the Paris police force in 2010, was part of the response team called to the Bataclan theatre following the deadly Paris terror shooting in November 2015.
Xavier’s husband Etienne Cardiles delivered an emotional and powerful eulogy at a memorial service. In an emotional, moving speech, Cardiles told the crowd: “I’m suffering without hate. He repeated the quote coined by Antoine Leiris, who lost his wife during that terror attack and said: “You will not have my hatred”.
On the morning of the attack, Xavier and Etienne were making plans to take a holiday together. “I returned home that evening without you, with an extreme and profound pain, that maybe, one day, will weaken”, Etienne said.
When I first got messages saying something had happened on the Champs Elysees, and that a policeman had died, a small voice told me it was you, and brought back to me that generous and healing phrase: ‘You will not have my hatred’.
Etienne told his husband that he does not feel hatred for those who killed him “because it is not like you. Because it does not correspond to anything that made your heart beat, nor why you entered the police force”.
Because public service, helping others and protecting everyone was part of your education and your convictions – “And tolerance, dialogue and patience were your strongest weapons.
Cardiles spoke lovingly, intimately and directly to Jugele, recalling how “going to the cinema to watch five films on a sunny August day would not make you blink”.
Your favourite stars were Celine Dion, Zazie, Madonna, Britney Spears and so many others who made our windows rattle.
Theatre transported you to another world, where you lived fully.
You would shy away from no cultural activity
You would see the very worst films the day they came out, right to the end, no matter how bad they were.
Etienne finished his speech by paying tribute to what was most important to Xavier:
A life of joy and laughter, in which love and tolerance were your uncontested masters.
You lived like a star, and leave like a star.
Xavier Jugelé has been promoted to police captain and awarded Chevalier of the Legion of Honor posthumously.