Paris attack: Police officer shot dead, another wounded, Champs Elysees closed off

Nick Mcbride
April 21, 2017

Paris police say that a gunman killed one police officer and wounded another before being killed himself in an attack on the Champs-Elysees shopping district.

The incident came as French voters prepared go to the polls on Sunday in the most tightly-contested presidential election in living memory.

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press that the attacker targeted officers guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station at the center of the sparkling shopping boulevard popular with tourists.

President Francois Hollande has said he is convinced the attack was terror-related.

The IS group claimed responsibility for the fatal shooting in a statement by the jihadists' propaganda agency Amaq.

Three police sources said, however, that the shooting could have been an attempt at an armed robbery. He said it is too early to know if the gunman had an accomplice. He said authorities are looking at many possible motives, and that terror investigators are involved in the case.

The Champs-Elysées has been closed and authorities are telling people to avoid the area. Two police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the investigation, said the attacker had been flagged as an extremist.

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Speaking in Washington during a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, U.S. President Donald Trump said the shooting in Paris "looks like another terrorist attack" and sent condolences to France. "We have to be strong and we have to be vigilant". What can you say? The Tour de France ends at this location.

The attack came three days before the French presidential election.

A French television station hosting a televised event with the 11 candidates running for president briefly interrupted its broadcast to report the shootings.

There are eleven total candidates, but the five front runners include Francois Fillon, Benoit Hamon, Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Melenchon.

France has been plagued by terrorism since the horrific attacks of November 2015 that left 130 people dead and hundreds injured. Although CNN reports that a third person was also struck in the gunfire, it's not yet clear whether this person was a bystander or the attacking gunman.

The attacker opened fire on a police van with an automatic weapon before being killed. The Tunisian-born French citizen was killed by law enforcement.

Other reports by VgToday

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