A gunman opened fire killing a police officer and injuring two others before being fatally shot himself in Paris, in an incident that raised the spectre of renewed terrorism just three days before voters go to the polls to elect a new president.
The Islamic State has issued a statement, saying they were responsible for the attack, which took place at the Champs-Élysees in Paris.
Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said he will reveal the shooter’s identity on Friday at a news conference. He said officers are searching the man’s residence in Chelles, Seine-et-Marne, a Paris suburb, and are trying to determine if he had accomplices.
The shooting has not officially been declared a terrorist act but anti-terrorist forces are leading the investigation, French President Francois Hollande said.
“The people who were present have been evacuated and we are convinced that the leads which point us to this case, and which will allow us to uncover the truth, are of a terrorist nature,” he said.
The shooting happened about 9 pm local time when a car stopped at 102 Champs-Elysees in front of a police van, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre Henry Brandet said.
A man emerged from the car and opened fire on the van with an “automatic weapon,” killing one officer instantly, he said.
The man “then ran away, managing to shoot and wound two other policemen. Other policemen engaged and shot and killed the attacker,” Brandet said.
The slain officer was 30-years-old, Molin said. One of the wounded officers was critically injured but is improving, he said. Also wounded was a female tourist.
The shooting shut down the famed Champs-Elysees, one of Paris’ top tourist attractions and home to the iconic Arc de Triomphe monument. The avenue was clear of residents and tourists but teeming with security officers Thursday night.
France has been in a state of emergency since the 2015 Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead.
United States President Donald Trump conveyed his deep condolence to France.
“Our condolences to our country and the people of France ... It looks like another terror attack,” Trump said during a joint news conference with Italy’s prime minister at the White House.
“What can you say? It just never ends,” Trump added.
Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve showed solidarity with the policeman, who was killed in the shooting.
“Paying homage to the policeman killed on the Champs-Élysees. Thoughts are with his family. Solidarity with his injured colleagues and those close to them,” he tweeted.
-- With inputs from ANI