Philippe Monguillot, 59, a husband and father of three children, was left brain-dead in the southwestern town of Bayonne on July 5 following an attack what officials called “barbaric,” prompted by the bus driver asking four passengers to wear a face mask while attempting to check a persons bus ticket.
The bus drivers family made the decision to switch off his life support on Friday, news agency Agence France-Presse reported.
“We decided to let him go. The doctors were in favor and we were as well,” the victims 18-year-old daughter, Marie Monguillot, told AFP.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the incident “touches us in the heart” and those involved will be punished for this “abject crime,” he wrote on Twitter shortly after his passing.
“The death of Philippe Monguillot, cowardly assaulted Sunday in Bayonne for having accomplished his work, touches us in the heart,” Castex said. “The Republic recognizes in him an exemplary citizen and will not forget him.”
One man connected to the incident was taken into custody at the scene on July 5 shortly after police arrived, while the four others fled the scene. Police detained the other suspects the following day at an apartment in Bayonne, and some were already known to authorities, according to multiple reports.
Prosecutors have charged two of the suspects with attempted murder; the other two men have been charged with non-assistance to a person in danger, and one has also been charged with attempting to hide a suspect, the local prosecutors office said, according to AFP.
One of the detained individuals was a minor and has since been released.
The mayor of Bayonne, Jean-René Etchegaray, said the attack was “barbaric” and officials will work toward improving the safety of bus transportation. The mayor of Anglet, Claude Olive, said, “Philippe was a wonderful person who should have been protected.”
The dispute started after Monguillot tried to check a passengers ticket, a French prosecutor said during a press conference earlier this week, the Daily Mail reported.
The passenger had joined three other men who had previously mounted the bus without any face coverings. The men refused to follow the mask requirement and Monguillot told them to get off the bus if they didnt want to wear masks.
Face coverings are mandatory on public transport in France, where the death toll from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus has claimed over 30,000 lives.
“There were insults and then shoving. The bus driver was pushed out of the bus,” the prosecutor said. Two of the suspects then allegedly punched and kicked Monguillot.
The suspects “violently kicked and punched the upper part of his body, including his head,” the prosecutor said, according to AFP.
Following the brutal attack, some of the men ran away and hid in one of the mens apartment. The two suspects charged with attempted murder are reportedly aged in their early twenties and had previous police records.
Monguillot was honored on Wednesday by about 6,000 people who expressed their grief and took to the streets in a “white march,” French media reported.