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French teen kills three with Kalashnikov


Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-04-26

The 19-year-old man was arrested Thursday for the suspected killing of three people in the southern French town of Istres with a Kalashnikov rifle he is thought to have bought online. A second suspect was also arrested in Paris.

A young man of 19 years old shot three people dead in a town in southern France on Thursday with a Kalashnikov assault rifle believed to have been bought over the Internet. After his arrest, the suspect gave the police the name of another person in Paris he suggested may be planning a similar attack.

Police said the man opened fire shortly after 2pm in a quiet residential area of Istres, a small town located around 60km northwest of Marseille in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, before being arrested moments later.

One of the victims, a man thought to be in his sixties, was shot dead at the wheel of his car. The other two were pedestrians, both local men aged 35 and 45 respectively. A 55-year-old woman was also left injured after a bullet grazed her ear.

Police later found a Kalashnikov automatic rifle in a ditch near the scene.

According to a source close to the investigation into the shooting, early evidence suggests the suspect acquired the weapon online.

In an interview with the AFP new agency, the source said that it appears the teen bought a deactivated Kalashnikov and then restored it to a working state, but did not reveal the name of the website where the weapon was purchased.

Paris suspect arrested

After his arrest, the suspect provided the name of a person in Paris who he warned would “commit an act”. The individual was subsequently taken into custody by police on Thursday evening.

As of Friday afternoon, both the suspected shooter and the person he named in Paris were still being held by police for questioning.

Meanwhile, the local prefect of police in Istres, Jean-Paul Bonnetain, said the killings appear to have been a random act committed without any apparent motive.

"Nothing at this stage has enabled us to establish a link between the shooter and his victims,” he commented.

History of psychaitric problems

However, police said the teen, who lived locally, was already known to them for hoarding military weapons and had previously spent a year on probation for an offence relating to the possession of arms.

He also had a history of psychiatric problems, a police source told AFP.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who travelled to Istres on Thursday at the request of President François Hollande, currently on a state visit to China, described the killing as a worrying example of gun violence in France.

"It is clearly very worrying. It once again raises the problem of the number of weapons in circulation," Valls said.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-04-26


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