Deadly Paris Police Shooter Was French, Had Criminal Record: Official
PARIS — The gunman behind a shootout that killed a police officer and wounded two others in central Paris was French and had a long criminal record, an Interior Ministry spokesman said Friday.
Pierre Henry Brandet also told radio station France Info that officials found a shotgun and knives in the suspect’s car.
Three people from the suspect’s family have been taken into custody for questioning, he added.
The gunman ambushed three Parisian police officers on the Champs-Elysees on Thursday, killing one and wounding two others in what the country’s president called a terrorist attack.
The gunman — who ISIS claimed as one of their own — was then fatally shot while trying to flee on foot down the famous boulevard, police said.
There were conflicting reports Friday morning of people who had been identified by the Belgian security services as being involved in the attack, and France remained on edge just days before key presidential elections.
French President, Francois Hollande, did not identify the slain suspect. But he was known to French authorities and armed with an AK-47 rifle, two U.S. law enforcement officials briefed on the attack told NBC News earlier. He called the shooting a terrorist attack.
Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve also confirmed Friday after a meeting of France’s National Defense Council that pre-existing arrangements that 50,000 police and 7,000 military personnel would be deployed for security during this weekend’s elections.
National security is a burning issue for many in France after attacks by militant Islamists across the country have killed more than 230 people over the past two years.
Presidential candidates Marine Le Pen of the far right Front National party and Francois Fillon of the center right Les Republicans canceled remaining campaign events, the AFP news agency reported.
Reading out a televised statement Friday morning, Le Pen called for the expulsion of foreigners with a security record.
Reuters reported that Fillon said the fight against “Islamist totalitarianism” should be the priority of the next President.
Meanwhile, centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he was ready to deal with the terrorist threat.