French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has shown solidarity with the policeman, who was killed in a shooting in Paris on Thursday. “Paying homage to the policeman killed on the Champs-Élysées. Thoughts are with his family. Solidarity with his injured colleagues and those close to them,” he tweeted. At least one police officer was killed, and the attacker was neutralised in the shooting, according to CNN affiliate BFMTV and the French Interior Ministry. BFMTV also reported that another police officer was seriously injured and an unidentified man was hit by the “cross-fire” in the the Champs-Elysées area.
BFMTV has not specified if the unidentified man was the attacker or a bystander. Following the shoot out, the Champs-Elysées was closed and authorities were telling people to avoid the area. The shooting comes three days before French General Elections and Paris was already in a state of heightened alert. The Presidential Palace, the Elysee, is only a few blocks away. The French Police tweeted, “Police intervention underway in the area of the #ChampsElysees avoid the sector and follow the instructions of the police forces.”
MORE: Paris police officer killed when car stopped at red light by attacker driving by: police union. Live video: http://t.co/UEzpVYober pic.twitter.com/chUivPv386
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) April 20, 2017
Meanwhile, French Ministry of Interior Spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told BFMTV that the assailant “got out of the vehicle and shot at the police vehicle with an automatic weapon, killing one policeman instantly.” The man “then ran away, managing to shoot and wound two other policemen. Other policemen engaged and shot and killed the attacker,” Brandet said. The attack started around 9 p.m. local time in Paris, when a vehicle stopped next to a police vehicle stationed on the side of the road. Policemen were both inside and outside the vehicle. The shooter got out of his car and started firing at police, Brandet said on BFMTV.
France anti-terror prosecutors have opened investigation into the attack. French anti-terror prosecutors and the National Intelligence Service are now opening an investigation to determine the nature of the incident on the Champs Elysees, according to the Paris Prosecutor’s Office in a text to CNN, looking at terror as a possible motive in this attack.