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PARIS — Police fired at a car as it tried to smash through a security barrier set up for the finals of the Tour de France bike race in Paris, sparking a huge manhunt in the French capital Sunday morning.
“Several shots [were] fired at the Place de la Concorde this morning against a speeding car trying to avoid a traffic control inspection,” Paris police spokesman Eric Trunel told NBC News. "The car did not stop. Instead it sped towards the officers and the officers opened fire."
The driver was able to escape in a small vehicle with tinted windows, he added. The car had two occupants, according to Reuters.
The incident, which occurred at around 8 a.m. (2 a.m. ET), was being investigated but was not considered an attempt to commit a terrorist attack, Trunel said.
Police confirmed to NBC News that the car was later found abandoned a short distance from the Place de Concorde. A Renault Twingo was found but the suspects are still on the run, officials said.
The owner of the car, however, was identified and police expect the investigation to wrap up very soon, suggesting an arrest was imminent.
Trunel confirmed there were "several persons" in the fleeing car and police were still leaning towards a case of young suspects refusing to stop for a trafic inspection because of drinking or drugs.
An announcement will be made later when investigation concluded.
Nevertheless, security was tight throughout the capital as security officials prepared for hundreds of thousands to gather and watch the end of the cycling race in Place de la Concorde and the Champs Elysees.