PARIS — At least three people were killed in a shooting in central Paris, the Paris prosecutor said Friday, adding that the suspected attacker was known to authorities.
Laure Beccuau told reporters that one person was also in critical condition and two others had been hospitalized with less serious injuries. The suspect was injured during his arrest and had been taken to hospital, she said.
She said that investigators would look into any possible racist motive in the shooting on Rue d’Enghien, a busy shopping street in Paris' 10th Arrondissement, or district, that bustled with shoppers ahead of the holiday weekend.
Beccuau's office opened an investigation into murder and attempted murder, along with other violations.
Anti-terrorism prosecutors were in contact with investigators but had not indicated any sign of a terrorist motive, Beccuau said.
She also said the suspect had a previous police record, including an arrest for attacking migrants living in tents, and that investigators were considering a possible racist motive for the shooting, according to the Associated Press.
The shooting occurred in a Kurdish cultural center, and a nearby restaurant and hair salon, the mayor for the 10th arrondissement, Alexandra Cordebard, told reporters at the scene.
Suspected gunman arrested after killing at least three in ParisDec. 23, 202201:03
Later, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told a news conference that it was unclear whether the shooter specifically targeted members of the Kurdish community, but “he did clearly go after foreigners.”
He said that the government had requested reinforced police protection for Kurdish community sites in the country.
The 69-year-old suspect was not known to the police or intelligence services for radicalization or association with far-right extremists, said Darmanin, adding that he acted alone and his motive was unclear.
Paris' deputy mayor, Emmanuel Gregoire, tweeted his thanks to security forces for their “swift action” and offered “thoughts for the victims and those who witnessed this drama.”
The French capital has been rocked by other violent attacks in recent years. In 2020, a middle-school teacher who showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad was decapitated by a man who was later shot dead by police.
In 2015, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for multiple coordinated gun and bomb attacks on entertainment venues around the city, which left 130 dead and 368 wounded.
France remains on alert for terrorism-related violence.
Nancy Ing reported from Paris and Leila Sackur from London.