According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, a police officer was killed after an individual fired a gun at a police car on the famous Champs-Élysées boulevard in Paris, France. ABC News reports that two other officers were left severely wounded, according to French Interior Minister spokesman Pierre-Henri Brandet. A passerby was injured as well, according to the Mirror.
One suspect has been killed, and another is still alive and at large, according to the Mirror. According to the Telegraph, the second shooter arrived in Paris by train from Belgium. An arrest warrant for the at-large suspect has been issued.
Authorities have advised the public to avoid the Champs-Élysées area. On Twitter, the French police union reported that an “individual in a car opened fire on a police car stopped at a red light, killing one policeman.”
Un individu, en véhicule, aurait fait feu sur une voiture de police à l'arrêt à un feu rouge abattant un policier.
— UNITÉ SGP POLICE (@UNITESGPPOLICE) April 20, 2017
The Telegraph reports that one shooter fired at the officers six times before hiding behind a lorry. He then attempted to run away before being shot by authorities.
ABC News added details from Pierre-Henri Brandet’s account of the shooting told to local channel BFM TV. Brandet stated that the officers were targeted by the shooter and that the suspect shot at his victims after getting out of his car. According to ABC News, the suspect tried to flee the scene, continuing to shoot at officers while he was running. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor who handles terrorism cases stated that terror investigators are “looking into this case.”
The Mirror reported that a helicopter has been spotted flying over the Paris area. The Telegraph added that this helicopter, equipped with a searchlight, is being used to find the escaped suspect. The east Paris home of the slayed shooter is also being searched by police.
French President Francois Hollande has called an emergency meeting in Paris as a response to the shootings, reports the Mirror. According to the Telegraph, Hollande has stated,”We are convinced the motive is likely to be terrorism.”
The gunman shot the officers with a Kalashnikov rifle, also known as an AK-47, according to the Mirror. Hollande’s decision to label the shooting as a terrorist attack answers questions that some have had as to the motive of the Paris shooting, which authorities had speculated may have been related to a robbery.
According to Al Jazeera, ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), also known as ISIS, has claimed responsibility for the terrorist shooting on its website and has stated that the shooter was one of its fighters. The Mirror reports that the slain shooter has been identified as Karim C. and had used the name “Abu Yousuf the Belgian.” The 39-year-old killer had been sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2003 for attempted murder of police officers after opening fire on two officers in 2001. He was let out following an appeals ruling. Karim C. had made threats to kill police using an instant messaging service called Telegram.
ABC News conveyed that the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs sent out an ominous message on Twitter warning American citizens to avoid the Champs-Élysées area in Paris “after a shooting.”
Most of Central Paris is still on lockdown, according to the Mirror.
According to ABC News, President Donald Trump, accompanied by the Italian prime minister who is visiting the White House today, commented on the Paris shooting during a joint press conference, stating
“It’s a very terrible thing that’s going on in the world today…what can you say? It just never ends. We have to be strong, we have to be vigilant.”
The Paris shooting occurs only a few days away from France’s presidential election, which is set to happen on Sunday. According to the Telegraph, both Marine Le Pen and Francois Fillon have cancelled campaign stops planned for Friday.
The Champs-Élysées avenue is a huge destination for tourists from all over the world. The Paris boulevard is a major French cultural center containing theaters, restaurants, and a variety of shops, ending in the famous Arc de Triomphe monument.
This shooting is just the latest in a string of terrorist attacks plaguing Paris and other European cities in recent years.
Please check back to this article for the latest updates and additional details on this developing situation.
[Featured Image by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]