Saturday 24 February 2018

Police swoop on suspected lone gunman after Paris manhunt

Henry Samuel, Paris

A man bearing a "strong physical resemblance" to the lone gunman suspected of carrying out several recent attacks in central Paris has been arrested, the French capital's prosecutor said last night.

He was seized in a vehicle in an underground car park in the western Paris suburb of Bois-Colombes – not far from where a carjacking took place on Monday.

Police said the man was not in a position to be questioned as he was in a "semi-conscious state, probably after taking medication that may suggest he tried to commit suicide".

He was reportedly seized after a witness – said to be familiar with the suspect – came to a local police station and gave the location of the gunman whose face has been on television screens across the country.

Although unable to question the suspect, detectives took a DNA sample to see if it matches genetic prints found on the shotgun cartridges the gunman used and a car he commandeered during Monday's drama. They said results from the DNA match would be known in the early hours of this morning.

Paris has been on edge since Monday when a gunman critically wounded a photographer at the offices of 'Liberation' newspaper, before opening fire on the offices of Societe Generale bank and briefly taking a motorist hostage.

CAPTURE

The man – a European aged between 35 and 40 – had managed to evade capture for 48 hours despite a huge manhunt in the city, the release of several photos and a film of the suspect when he threatened staff with a hunting rifle at BFMTV TV news channel last Friday.

An appeal to the public for information had generated nearly 700 calls.

The newspaper involved, the left-wing daily 'Liberation', said the 23-year-old photography assistant shot during the gunman's attack in its reception area remained in intensive care.

He was in a slightly improved condition and had been taken out of an induced coma, but remained "intensely monitored" by doctors, it said.

The "calm and determined" suspect used a 12-gauge shotgun to shoot the photographer's assistant on his second day of freelance work at 'Libération', and fired another blast that hit the roof before leaving.

He then crossed to La Defense, to the west of the city, where he fired several shots outside the main office of the Societe Generale bank, hitting no one.

He next reportedly hijacked a car, telling the driver he was just out of prison, had a grenade and was "ready for anything", and forced him to drop him off close to the Champs Elysees avenue in the centre of the French capital before apparently entering the Paris metro system. The gunman's motive was not known. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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