1 Dead, 2 Wounded Following Shooting on Champs-Elysees
One police officer has died and another 2 were injured when a gunman open fired on them on the Champs-Elysees in Paris Thursday night.
Police in Paris say the gunman arrived at a parked police car and open fired, intentionally targeting the officer inside with an “automatic weapon.” The man then ran away, managing to shoot two other officers before being shot and killing by police.
The shooting shut down the famed Champs-Elysees, one of the most popular tourist spots in Paris. The avenue was shut down along with three other metro stations following the attack.
Police revealed the man was known to police, as he was on the radar of the French domestic security service DGSI, CNN reports. The man was a French national who shot two officers in 2001 after being stopped by a police car. He was taken into custody, and while being questioned he took the officer’s gun from him and shot him three times. He was convicted in that attack and had a criminal record because of his involvement in robberies.
While police are hesitant to say the attack was a terrorist attack, the Islamic State, through its affiliated Amaq News Agency, quickly asserted responsibility for the attack. The terrorist organization said the attack was carried out by a man only identified as Abu Yusuf al-Baljiki, a pseudonym.
There is no immediate confirmation that the Islamic State is behind the shooting.
The shooting comes as the nation gears up to elect a new president on Sunday. Many believe the incident coupled with other terrorist attacks in France since the November 2015 attack will sway voters to vote for a candidate who is strong on law and order.
France has been in a state of emergency since the 2015 Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead. Parliament voted in December to extend extraordinary provisions to ensure the protection of upcoming presidential and general elections.