Protests broke out near the site of the shooting, leading to a clash with police
By Peter Aitken
Before the long weekend, three people were killed and at least three others were injured in a shooting in Paris on Friday.
Near the Gare de l’Est train station in Paris’ 10th arrondissement, a street lined with stores and eateries was blocked off by police. Before Christmas, the street was bustling with shoppers, but the police have warned them to stay away.
Ali Dalek, a witness, told the BBC that they heard gunshots while they were walking down the street. “We turned around and saw people running left and right. Five or six minutes later, because we know people who work there, we went in and saw that they had arrested a guy. He was an old, tall man who was elderly.
Police detained a 69-year-old suspect who had a criminal history that included being arrested for assaulting migrants who were living in tents. According to the BBC, the prior attack took place in December 2021, and it was unclear why he had been released.
The attacker’s weapon was reportedly discovered by the police after they apprehended the suspect without any resistance, but the suspect was hurt in the face. Three more people have sought medical attention at the hospital, one of whom is in critical condition.
Alexandra Cordebard, mayor of the 10th arrondissement, said that the “real motivation for the shooting remains unclear.” Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said anti-terrorism prosecutors have been in contact with investigators but have not indicated any sign of a terrorist motive.
Police have instead considered a possible racist motive for the shooting, as it occurred near a Kurdish cultural center. In 2013, three women Kurdish activists were shot dead at the same center. A Turkish citizen was charged with the killing, but many suspected the Turkish intelligence service.
A nearby crowd accused the criminal of acting in the interests of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with chants of “Erdogan, terrorist” and “Turkish state, assassin” while Cordebard spoke.
The shooting prompted a protest from the Kurdish community near the scene of the shooting, and protesters clashed with police. All three of the victims killed in the shooting were of Kurdish origin, Sky News reported.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was less guarded in her statements, instead labeling the suspect as a “far-right activist.”
“Kurds wherever they reside must be able to live in peace and security,” Hidalgo said. “More than ever, Paris is by their side in these dark times.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.