An employee at a police headquarters in Paris has stabbed and killed four officers before being shot dead.
He reportedly stabbed a colleague in his office with a ceramic knife before turning it on others, at least one of them a woman, with the last attacked in the courtyard outside.
He was shot dead by a police officer who was also seriously injured in the attack in the historic building near Notre Dame Cathedral.
The Île de la Cité area was closed off by police and the nearby Cité metro station sealed off.
The motive for the attack, which happened at about 1pm local time (1200 BST) in a part of the police prefecture not open to the public, is not known.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, the interior minister, Christophe Castaner, and the prime minister, Édouard Philippe, visited the scene. Macron was expected to go ahead with a scheduled public debate on pensions changes in the southern town of Rodez on Thursday night.
The man, who had worked at the prefecture on the Île de la Cité for 20 years, had security clearance at the building. Loic Travers, a union official, said he was unaware of any problems that could have pushed the “ordinary administrator” to kill his colleagues.Advertisement
“The four victims were police officers. There is a chaotic atmosphere in the prefecture … obviously it’s shocking. The colleagues who saw what happened will be marked by this for the rest of their careers.”
Emery Siamandi, a prefecture employee, said: “I was on the stairs when I heard shots and thought it was not normal. After I saw three police officers crying and other colleagues crying. At first I thought a police officer had killed himself; afterwards I learned someone had killed the officers. The officer who killed the man was crying.”
The attack came a day after thousands of officers marched in Paris to protest against low wages, long hours and an increasing suicide rate in their ranks.
Police said they were investigating and carrying out searches related to the attack. The interior minister has not yet commented. French media quoted police union officials suggesting the motive may have been personal. The anti-terrorist brigade has not been brought in to investigate, suggesting the authorities do not consider the attack is linked to terrorism.
French police have been targeted by extremists several times in recent years. In 2017, a gunman opened fire on the Champs-Élysées in central Paris, killing one officer before he was shot dead.
In 2016, an attack inspired by Islamic State killed a police officer and his partner, an administrator, in front of their child at their home outside Paris.
Source: The Guardian