French Heroes Damien Guerot and Silas Despreaux Stopped Sydney Knifeman with Bollards

Two French nationals, Damien Guerot and Silas Despreaux, hailed as heroes for confronting and helping stop a deadly knife attack in Sydney, Australia, saving lives. Their bravery earned them Australian residency and citizenship.

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Geeta Pillai
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French Heroes Damien Guerot and Silas Despreaux Stopped Sydney Knifeman with Bollards

French Heroes Damien Guerot and Silas Despreaux Stopped Sydney Knifeman with Bollards

Damien Guerot and Silas Despreaux, two French nationals, have been hailed as heroes for their brave actions in confronting and helping stop a deadly knife attack at Westfield Bondi Junction shopping center in Sydney, Australia on Saturday. The attack left six people dead and a dozen more wounded before the assailant, Joel Cauchi, was shot dead by police.

Security camera footage captured the dramatic moments as Guerot, a 31-year-old construction worker, stood at the top of an escalator and warded off Cauchi using a plastic bollard. His actions allowed people on his floor to remain safe. Despreaux, Guerot's work colleague, assisted by throwing a barrier post at the knife-wielding attacker and warning Guerot that Cauchi would now come after them.

The pair then raced to find and inform police. Guerot followed behind a police officer as she ran towards the attacker. When they reached Cauchi, the officer tried to calm him down, but he lunged at her, forcing her to shoot him.

Why this matters: The heroic actions of Guerot and Despreaux saved lives during the terrifying attack that targeted women and shocked Australia. Their bravery in the face of danger exemplifies the courage of ordinary citizens stepping up in a crisis to protect others.

As a reward for their heroism, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese granted Guerot permanent residency, as his temporary work visa was set to expire in July. "I would like to say thank you for what you did. You showed enormous courage. You showed compassion and you showed the great Australian spirit of helping others," Albanese told Guerot. The Prime Minister also offered to make Guerot an Australian citizen and praised the actions of Despreaux and Pakistani security guard Muhammad Taha, who was stabbed while confronting Cauchi.

French President Emmanuel Macron commended Guerot and Despreaux, calling them "true heroes" for their actions in stopping the deadly rampage, the first of two knife attacks by lone assailants that have traumatized Sydney over a three-day period. Authorities are now gathering evidence from the Westfield Bondi Junction attack to present to a coroner, as it is not being treated as a criminal investigation.

Key Takeaways

  • Two French nationals, Damien Guerot and Silas Despreaux, confronted and helped stop a deadly knife attack in Sydney.
  • Their heroic actions saved lives during the attack that left 6 dead and a dozen wounded.
  • Australia granted Guerot permanent residency as a reward for his bravery, and offered him citizenship.
  • French President Macron commended Guerot and Despreaux as "true heroes" for stopping the deadly rampage.
  • The attack is not being treated as a criminal investigation, with authorities gathering evidence for a coroner.