Paris gunman kills three in attack on Kurdish cafe
PARIS - A gunman opened fire on a Kurdish cultural centre and nearby Kurdish cafe in central Paris on Friday, killing three people and wounding three others, and prosecutors said they were looking into a possible racist motive for the attack.
Multiple gunshots were fired on Rue d’Enghien, sowing panic on a street lined with small shops and cafes in the capital’s busy central 10th arrondissement, or district. Authorities said they had arrested a 69-year-old man and the incident was over.
“It was Kurds who were targeted,” said Mr Juan-Golan Eliberg, an artist who works at the Kurdish centre.
The Paris prosecutor said the suspect was previously known to the authorities and that a possible racist dimension to the attack would be investigated.
Mr Julien Verplancke who works at another local restaurant, Chez Minna, said staff from the Kurdish restaurant emerged from the premises in tears after the shooting.
The incident was a “terrible drama”, district mayor Alexandra Cordebard told reporters. Two of those wounded had suffered life-threatening injuries, she said.
An investigation has been opened into murder, manslaughter and aggravated violence, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.
The prosecutor said the suspected gunman had been detained a year ago for an attack with a sabre on a migrant camp in Paris and investigated for a racially motivated crime.
BFM TV reported that the suspect was a French national. A witness told the TV channel that the gunman was a white man who opened fire in silence.
Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said the suspect was also injured, “notably to the face”, when she spoke to reporters at the scene.
Resident Emmanuel Boujenan said the gunman was arrested in a hair salon.
“There were people panicking, shouting to the police and pointing to the salon ‘he’s in there, he’s in there, go in’,” he explained.
He said he saw two people on the floor of the salon with leg wounds.
A shopkeeper in the area said she heard seven or eight shots, saying “it was total panic. We locked ourselves inside.”
Armed police were still guarding a security cordon as investigators swarmed the scene.
News of the shooting set nerves jangling in a city that has been repeatedly targeted by Islamist terror groups since 2015.
Paris is also the scene of occasional outbreaks of gang violence. - AFP, REUTERS