[Update December 23 at 16:45 - Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has said that the attacker 'clearly wanted to go after foreigners,' but it is not known if he was specifically targeting Kurdish people.]
Three people have been killed and three injured during a shooting in Paris’ 10th arrondissement today (December 23), and a suspect has been arrested.
Several shots were fired on the Rue d'Enghien near the Strasbourg-Saint-Denis métro station. Of the three people injured, one is in a critical condition.
Paris’ public prosecution service has stated that: “An investigation has been opened by the murder, voluntary homicide and aggravated violence departments.”
A suspect aged between 60 and 70 has been arrested and taken into custody. The man was arrested “with his weapon, there is no longer any danger, his motive is as yet unknown,” a police source told AFP.
It has now been confirmed that the man is 69 years old, of French nationality and already known to the police for two attempted homicides, Franceinfo reports. However his identity has not been revealed.
The BBC reports that the suspect had been released from prison under court supervision on December 12 and that he has previously been charged with racist violence. In December 2021, he attacked a group of migrants at a camp in Paris with a sword. He injured two men and was injured himself in the struggle.
He was also injured in this attack and has been taken to hospital.
People have been advised to avoid the Seine-Saint-Denis area by the police.
Witnesses heard seven or eight shots
A nearby shopkeeper told AFP that she heard “seven or eight shots in the street,” followed by “total panic: we stayed shut inside”.
A resident added: “There were people panicking and screaming at police officers: ‘He is there, he is there, go!’ and pointing to a hair salon.”
The deputy manager of the Pouliche restaurant told AFP: “We saw a white man go into a Kurdish cultural centre and shoot, then go into the hair salon next door.”
The Rue d'Enghien is home to the Centre culturel kurde Ahmet Kaya, but it is not yet known whether the shooter was explicitly targeting this site.
It seems that shots were fired in three locations: the cultural centre, the hair salon and a restaurant.
Another eyewitness told Franceinfo that the man also shot at people in the hair salon.
Reaction from French politicians
Following the shooting, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced on Twitter that he would return to Paris tomorrow (December 24) to meet with the injured victims and their families.
A la suite de la dramatique fusillade qui s'est déroulée ce matin, je rentre à Paris et me rendrai sur place. Toutes mes pensées vont aux proches des victimes. L'auteur a été interpellé.— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) December 23, 2022
Paris' Mayor Anne Hidalgo has tweeted: "The Kurdish community and, through it, all Parisians, has been targeted by murders committed by a far-right militant. Kurdish people - no matter where they live - must be able to live in peace and safety.
"More than ever, Paris is at their side at this dark time."
La communauté kurde et, à travers elle tous les Parisiens, a été visée par ces assassinats commis par un militant d'extrême-droite. Les Kurdes où qu'ils résident doivent pouvoir vivre en paix et en sécurité. Plus que jamais, Paris est à leurs côtés dans ces heures sombres.— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) December 23, 2022
Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne has tweeted: "[My] thoughts and full support are with the victims of the fatal shooting in Paris, and their families. Gratitude to the police officers who arrested the suspected perpetrator of this hateful act."
Pensées et plein soutien aux victimes de la fusillade mortelle à Paris et à leurs proches. Une enquête est ouverte. Gratitude envers les policiers de la @prefpolice qui ont interpellé l'auteur présumé de cet acte odieux, aux @PompiersParis engagés. @GDarmanin se rend sur place.— Élisabeth BORNE (@Elisabeth_Borne) December 23, 2022