French authorities appealed to the public for help in their manhunt for the suspected perpetrator of three shootings and a carjacking in Paris.
French police were searching for a man last seen getting out of the car on the Champs Elysees, releasing the driver, after shootings at the offices of the Liberation newspaper and the headquarters of the bank Societe Generale SA. Last week, he targeted the offices of BFM television.
Law enforcement believe the attacks were committed by one person, state prosecutor Francois Molins said at a press conference yesterday as he called for help from the public.
“We expect a lot of help from witnesses to enable investigators to apprehend this individual,” Interior Minister Manuel Valls told reporters at a subsequent briefing. “There’s a great determination” to make the arrest because “he acted without a doubt to kill,” he said.
A suspect was seen running from the La Defense business district after three shots were fired at the bank’s tower shortly after noon, a police spokesman said. Less than two hours earlier, a man opened fire at the headquarters of the Liberation daily newspaper, wounding a photographer’s assistant.
Soon after the Societe Generale shooting, a man was taken hostage at La Defense in his car, which then headed toward the Champs Elysees, where the suspect got out and fled on foot, police said. A police helicopter was flying over the west of Paris looking for the suspect, television news stations showed.
Valls visited Liberation’s office in the eastern third arrondissement, across town from La Defense. Police were sent to protect other media offices across Paris.
In a televised statement from Israel, President Francois Hollande condemned the attacks as a direct assault on freedom of expression.
On Nov. 15, an armed man entered the headquarters of BFM-TV, an all-news station, and made threats before leaving. The Le Monde newspaper reported that video surveillance cameras show he appears to be the same man who fired at Liberation.
Molins described the suspect as of “European” origin, between 35 and 45, with three-day stubble and graying hair.
While France has been hit by frequent shoot-outs between rival gangs in Marseille and the Paris suburbs, shootings in central Paris are rare. France had 665 murders last year, according to the Interior Ministry, which doesn’t break out statistics based on type of weapon.