Toulouse shooter may have filmed attack to post on internet
THE serial killer at the centre of France's biggest ever man-hunt cold-bloodedly executed all his victims with a shot to the head and may even have filmed his racist killing spree with a view to posting it on the internet.
The scooter gunman shot each of his seven victims, including three young children, at such close range that the gunfire burned their skin, a French prosecutor revealed on Tuesday.
As the hunt intensified amid fears that the Toulouse killer could be poised to strike again, terrifying comparisons were drawn between him and Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian who went on a shooting rampage that killed 77 young people at a holiday camp outside Oslo last July.
"The killer had a camera strapped to his chest (during the school attack) that would allow him to film and view the footage on a computer," confirmed Claude Gueant, France's Interior Minister, on Tuesday. "The camera is a clue. It adds to the psychological profile we're establishing for the killer."
It was thought to be the same kind of camera that Breivik recommended in a rambling racist manifesto published ahead of his massacre.
Police were scouring the internet for the Toulouse killer's footage, but no trace had yet been found. The killing of a teacher and three children at a Jewish school on Monday was linked to two earlier shootings of French paratroopers.
Police have determined that the same .45 calibre handgun was used in all three attacks and that the gunman sped away on the same Yamaha T-Max scooter, a motorcycle that was stolen from a central Toulouse street on March 6.
Officials believe the lone-gunman is a trained marksman, possibly with military experience and are investigating possible neo-nazi connections because all of his victims have been either Muslim, black or Jewish.
He appears to be "someone who is very cold, very determined, very in control of himself, very cruel," the interior minister said.
Francois Molins, a French prosecutor investigating the case, pointed out that the killings had occurred every four days since March 11.
One of France's top criminal profilers said it was unlikely that the man would stop his series of attacks before getting caught.
"There is no reason for him to stop," warned Jean-Francois Abgrall, a criminology expert who has profiled other serial killers in France. "He has gone to war. He is a criminal dynamic and there is no reason for him to stop," he told Le Parisien newspaper.
"By using the same weapon and the same vehicle, he wants people to make the link. The gunman did not target his victims by chance. He chooses them in very specific categories."
Dr Jean Pierre Bouchard, a well-known criminologist, told France2 TV the possible presence of a camera "would explain why he chose to shoot his victims at point blank range, to have a stock of images to be able to pass on his 'message' via internet".
The southwestern region of France has been put on "scarlet" alert, the first time such a level has been enacted and one step short of a formal state of emergency. It gives security forces wide powers that include the authority to close public places including train stations and airports and deploy mixed patrols of police officers and soldiers.
President Nicolas Sarkozy said he had sent gendarmes and riot police officers to guard all Jewish and Muslim schools and places of worship in the region until the killer is stopped.