Paris attack at Kurdish centre leaves 3 dead; accused detained
A man charged with attacking migrants last year killed three people at a Kurdish cultural centre in Paris, authorities said.
The shooting, which wounded three, stunned the Kurdish community in Paris and provoked fights with police. It shook Paris businesses on the eve of Christmas and put authorities on alert for additional bloodshed.
The suspect is a 69-year-old Paris man who was sentenced for attacking tent-dwelling refugees and released this month. Investigators suspected a racial motive.
Alexandra Cordebard, the mayor of that portion of the city, said the incident happened lunchtime at a cultural centre, café, and hair shop.
Kurds yelled slogans against the Turkish government, while police used tear gas to disperse the crowd. Burned trash cans.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the suspect targeted foreigners and acted alone, not with extremist groups.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted, “The Kurds of France were the target of an odious attack in the heart of Paris. Thoughts for the victims, those who are fighting to survive, to their families and loved ones.”
Kurdish residents labelled it a terrorist attack. They demanded justice after police notified them of threats against Kurdish targets.
Paris Prosecutor Laure Beccuau said terrorism prosecutors had contacted investigators but had not indicated a terrorist purpose. Darmanin met Friday night to discuss dangers to France’s Kurdish community.
A nearby construction worker saw the attacker visit the cultural centre, restaurant, and hair salon. The worker told the AP that he saw the attacker hurt three individuals before two passerby intervened.
The worker, who asked that his name not be published for his safety, described the attacker as silent and calm while holding a small-caliber weapon.
Police roped off a popular boulevard near Gare de l’Est in Paris’ 10th arrondissement.
The prosecutor said one victim was in critical condition and two others had less significant injuries.
Darmanin said the French suspect attended a sports club’s shooting range and had many registered firearms. He wasn’t on any radicalization watch lists.
The suspect had earlier convictions for illegal guns possession and armed violence, and was charged with “premeditated, armed racism” for the Paris incident last year, the prosecutor said.