Two men entered the McDonald’s in Besancon, France, the night of June 5 attempting to rob the restaurant; one fired a warning gunshot, while the other ransacked the cash register. Meanwhile, a group of special forces were sitting down having their lunch at the restaurant.
It was reported that they were visiting the area for a secret operation.
There were about 40 customers in the restaurant, and among them were the 11 off-duty members of the French paramilitary special forces, belonging to the Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale, also known as the GIGN, reported the Telegraph. GIGN are soldiers who are trained to subdue hostage situations, and Sunday’s situation was nothing out of the norm for them.
At first, GIGN refrained from drawing their weapons because they did not want to cause any collateral damage to the customers and staff.
Antony, 20, who works in the kitchen, said he was unaware of what had occurred.
“At first I did not realize there was a gunshot,” he told France Bleu.
All of the staff managed to go to the kitchen to seek safety, while the robbery took place, Antony said. Once the alleged robbers finished ransacking the cash register—allegedly with $2,270 in hand, according to AFP— they exited through the kitchen.
One of the men waved his gun and warned the staff not to move. As they proceeded to escape from the kitchen, one of the men tripped, falling down the stairs.
“Une dizaine de membres du GIGN en civil, dînaient lors de l’attaque” confirme le gérant du McDonald’s-Ecole Valentin#braquage #besançon
— France Bleu Besançon (@bleubesancon) June 6, 2016
GIGN, right on cue, apprehended him—by then, customers and employees had already fled the scene, uninjured.
Furthermore, as GIGN pounced on the man who tripped, the other robber was shot in the abdomen after refusing to put his gun down.
Police arrived on the scene shortly afterward and arrested the two 25-year-old robbers of Montbéliard, who were then taken to a local hospital, according to news reports.
Local prosecutor Edwige Roux-Morizot told the Telegraph they face multiple charges, including armed robbery.