By: Aric Jenkins,Alana Abramson
A shooting on Paris’ Champs-Elysees Thursday night left one police officer dead, along with the suspected shooter. Two other officers were injured, as was a female tourist. The violence occurred at one of the world’s most renowned boulevards, just three days before France’s presidential election.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria claimed responsibility for the attack, and the actual identity of the attacker has been verified, according to the Associated Press. The attacker, who was shot by police, is thought to have been a 39 year-old from a Paris suburb; searches are underway for possible accomplices and evidence.
French President François Hollande said before ISIS took responsibility that the circumstances of the shooting indicate a terrorist attack.
Here’s what you need to know:
Around 9 p.m. Paris time (3 p.m. eastern) gunshots were heard around a Marks & Spencer store on Champs-Elysees in central Paris, prompting passersby and tourists to flee the area in panic. The attacker came out of a car, and, using an automatic weapon, began shooting police officers. Three police officers were hit, according to Reuters, one of whom was killed. Although initial reports said two officers were shot dead, a spokesman for the French Interior Ministry said the second policeman had not actually died of his wounds as initially reported.
This is the third terrorist attack the city of Paris has endured in two years. France has been in a state of emergency since 2015 in the wake of numerous terrorist attacks that have killed over 200 people.
Who fired the shots?
One attacker fired the shots with a machine gun and was subsequently killed by law enforcement.
According to the AP, French officials have identified the attacker as a 39-year-old man from an eastern Paris suburb. Searches are underway to determine if there were any accomplices and what evidence can be uncovered.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, but even before that, French President Francois Hollande said the circumstances of the attack likely indicate terrorism, the AP reports. Although the suspect’s name has not been released publicly, the AP reports that ISIS gave him the pseudonym Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, which means he has some connection to Belgium.
U.S. President Donald Trump suggested terrorism as motivation, before Hollande’s remarks. “It’s a terrible thing…it looks like another terrorist attack. What can you say. It never ends,” he said at a press conference on Thursday.
Is the area closed?
Champs-Elysees was closed off immediately following the attack. Paris’ metro subway is not stopping at stations near the area for the time being.