Paris shooting: Police officers shot on Champs-Elysees

Nick Mcbride
April 21, 2017

A police officer has been killed in the French capital, in an attack the president says has the hallmarks of terrorism. The French Ministry of Interior spokesman said that the attacker exited a vehicle and "shot at the police vehicle with an automatic weapon", per CNN.

The 11 candidates were appearing on a television programme ahead of the first round of voting in the two-part election on Thursday night when the attack on the Champs Elysees boulevard that left one officer dead happened.

On the iconic avenue in the heart of Paris, municipal workers in white hygiene suits were out before dawn Friday to wash down the sidewalk where the assault took place - a scene now depressingly familiar after multiple attacks that have killed more than 230 people in France in little over two years.

Socialist Benoit Hamon tweeted his "full support" to police against terrorism.

Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron offered his thoughts to the family of the dead officer.

Mr Hollande, who is not running again for office, said he had convened an emergency meeting of security, defence and intelligence top officials for Friday.

The attacker was being investigated over his possible intention to kill police officers, sources close to the investigation said.

"We shall be of the utmost vigilance, especially in relation to the election", said President Hollande, who is not himself running for re-election.

The BBC reported that security services had known of the gunman, who had talked about his desire to kill police officers on the Telegram messaging service.

One officer was killed and another was wounded.

The attack occurred on the most famous avenue in Paris, not far from another landmark, the Arc de Triomphe.

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

The gunman was shot dead by police as he tried to flee on foot, Pierre-Henry Brandet, a French Interior Ministry spokesman, told the BFMTV news channel. Subway stations were closed off.

Police officers secure the area after a gunman opened fire on Champs Elysees on Thu., April 20, 2017 in Paris, France.

Mr Brandet said a robbery may have been carried out at the same time as the attack but it is not clear if the two are linked. "Some were crying. There were tens, maybe even hundreds of them".

A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM that she heard a shooting, saw a man's body on the ground and the area was quickly evacuated by police. It recalled two recent attacks on soldiers providing security at prominent locations around Paris: one at the Louvre museum in February and one at Orly airport last month.

The two top contenders will advance to a runoff on May 7.

He also called for campaigning generally to be suspended, although from midnight on Friday the law says it has to stop anyway.

French conservative politician Francois Fillon, a candidate in France's presidential election, says campaigning should be suspended following the shooting in Paris.

Other reports by VgToday

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