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France

French police ask public to help identify Paris gunman

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2013-11-19

Police prosecutors on Monday shared photos and description details of a man they believe was behind two shooting incidents in the French capital earlier in the day, asking citizens for help in identifying the gunman who remains at large.

A gunman was at large in Paris on Monday evening, after a dramatic shooting spree in the French capital that began at the offices of one of the country’s most-read newspapers and ended on the iconic Champs-Elysées avenue.

POLICE ASK FOR HELP FINDING GUNMAN

Police have asked anyone who thinks they can help them identify the man behind Monday's shooting spree in Paris to contact them at the toll-free number 0800-00-27-08 or the email address pppj-appelatemoins@interieur.gouv.fr

Police said they were searching for a lone gunman believed to be behind attacks in the lobby of daily Libération, outside the offices of the Société Générale bank in the financial hub of La Défense, and at least one other incident at French BFM television last week.

Prosecutors told a press conference in Paris that the man looked European, was between 35 and 45 years old, was tall, and had salt-and-pepper hair. He had been seen wearing a long khaki-coloured coat, as well as green sports shoes with white soles.

Two blurry pictures of the assailant that were taken by security cameras were released to the public.

Photographer in critical condition

One photographer was in critical condition after the suspect shot him in the back at close range with a hunting rifle shortly after 10am Monday, according to witnesses in the headquarters of the left-leaning Libération newspaper in central Paris.

INCIDENT AT BFM TELEVISION, FRIDAY, NOV. 15, 2013

The shooter next appeared in the busy La Défense financial district, just west of the capital, firing his weapon at the building of Société Générale, one of France’s largest banks, around one hour later. There were no injuries at the site of the second shooting.

According to police and several reports, the man then forced a driver to take him to France’s most famous street, the boutique-dotted Champs-Elysées, where he disappeared into a metro station.

Police said that images captured by security cameras on Monday led them to believe that the shooter was the same person who threatened BFM TV journalists with a rifle last Friday. While the man brandished his weapon in the BFM building, he did not fire it.

Tight security

The motives behind the shooting spree still remained unknown, police said, as they reinforced security around the Champs-Elysées area.

There was also tighter security at major media outlets in the French capital following the attacks, including at FRANCE 24. Employees at La Maison de la Radio, a large complex housing several radio stations, were asked to remain indoors during part of the afternoon.

French leaders expressed outrage at the attack.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls, the head of police in France, as well as Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti, arrived at the offices of Libération after the shooting.

“As long as this individual is on the run, as long as we don’t know his motives, he represents a real danger,” Valls noted. “We have to act quickly to stop him.”

Date created : 2013-11-18

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