French police arrested a man suspected of shootings in Paris that left a newspaper photographer seriously wounded and instigated a two-day nationwide manhunt.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls identified the suspect as Abdelhakim Dekhar, who was convicted in 1998 for participating in a 1994 robbery and car chase that left three police officers and a taxi driver dead. Dekhar served four years in prison in what was known as the Rey-Maupin affair.
“All evidence points to his implication in the shootings,” Valls said last night, alluding to DNA tests. “There will now be a careful investigation to understand his exact motives.”
The shootings that shook the French capital began on the morning of Nov. 18 when a man entered the headquarters of the Liberation newspaper, firing shots that seriously wounded a 23-year-old assistant photographer. Two hours later, he was seen running from the La Defense business district after firing three shots at Societe Generale’s tower. He then coerced a man into giving him a ride to the Champs Elysees, where he melted into the crowds.
Last week, he targeted the offices of BFM Television, threatening people in the media outlet’s lobby.
Dekhar was found in a parked car on the outskirts of Paris, after the man he had been staying with contacted police, prosecutor Francois Molins said today at a press conference in Paris.
He had taken a lot of sedatives, leaving him semi-conscious and preventing police from charging him immediately, Molins said. Dekhar had written “confused” letters over his reasons for the shootings and suggesting he intended to commit suicide, the prosecutor added.
“It was very confused reasoning relating to fascism and its relation to media and banks,” Molins said.
The man who revealed Dekhar’s location to the police has known him for 13 years, after they met in London where he was working in catering. Dekhar has stayed regularly for short periods with the man over the years, Molins said.