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3 police officers shot dead in France during domestic violence call

“To protect us, our forces act putting their lives at risk. They are our heroes,” French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter after the incident..
Image: French police officers in Saint-Just, central France on Dec. 23, 2020, after three police officers were killed and a fourth wounded by a gunman they confronted in response to a domestic violence call.
Investigators in Saint-Just are looking into the killing of three police officers on Wednesday. Olivier Chassignole / AFP - Getty Images

PARIS — Three French police officers were shot dead by a man when they arrived at a home in Saint-Just, a remote commune in central France, to respond to a domestic violence call, police said on Wednesday.

A woman who was the reported victim of the domestic violence had sought refuge on the roof of the house and was subsequently rescued by police, France’s BFMTV broadcaster reported.

The house caught fire, and the suspected gunman was later found dead in his car, police said.

The incident took place in a small hamlet in Saint-Just, about 300 miles south-east of Paris.

It was not immediately clear how he died or where the car was located. Police had previously said the man was armed and they were trying to track him down.

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The three gendarme officers killed in the incident were aged 21, 37, and 45, the interior ministry said in a statement. A fourth officer was wounded and his injuries were not life-threatening, it said.

French President Emmanuel Macron offered condolences to the families of the dead officers.

“To protect us, our forces act putting their lives at risk. They are our heroes,” Macron wrote on Twitter.

Officials did not comment on the motive of the attack.

The suspected gunman was 48 and was known to law enforcement because of at least one past judicial case involving non-payment of child maintenance, according to an official in the prosecutor’s office in the nearby city of Clermont-Ferrand.

France’s interior minister described the attacker as a “maniac.”