French authorities released photos and video images of the suspected perpetrator of three shootings and a carjacking in Paris, appealing to the public for help in their manhunt.
Paris police said they'd not made arrests in the case after Le Parisien reported that a man had been taken into custody. The man was last seen at about midday yesterday 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 officials believe the attacks were committed by one person, state prosecutor Francois Molins said at a press conference yesterday.
“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.
The images showed a man of “European” origin, between 35 and 45, with glasses, three-day stubble, graying hair, and a baseball cap. He’s seen threatening people in the lobby of BFM, walking toward the Liberation offices, and waiting for a tram.
The suspect told the driver he’d recently been released from prison, Molins said.
The 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, seriously wounding a 23-year-old assistant photographer.
On Nov. 15, the same armed man entered the headquarters of BFM-TV, an all-news station, and made threats before leaving.
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. For much of the afternoon, a police helicopter flew over the west of Paris looking for the suspect.
In a televised statement from Israel, President Francois Hollande condemned the attacks as a direct assault on freedom of expression.
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 down statistics based on type of weapon.