PARIS: Three people were killed and four injured in a shooting at a Kurdish cultural center in central Paris on Friday, police and prosecutors said, adding that the shooter, in his 60s, had been arrested.
The motives of the gunman were unclear, with two of the four injured left in a serious condition in rue d’Enghien in the trendy 10th arrondissement.
The Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said on Friday, that the suspected attacker was known to authorities. She added that authorities would examine any possible racist element behind the shooting.
“The shooting took place at a Kurdish community center situated in the Rue d’Enghien as well as at a restaurant facing the Kurdish center and a hairdresser,” Alexandra Cordebard, mayor of the city’s 10th arrondissement, told journalists.
The man was known to French authorities and had attacked a migrant camp one year ago, BFM TV reported.
“The shooter has been arrested with his weapon. The danger is over,” a police source said. “His motives remain unknown at this stage.”
The shots shortly before midday (1100 GMT) caused panic in the neighborhood, a bustling area of shops, restaurants and bars.
Resident Emmanuel Boujenan said that the man had been arrested in a hair salon.
“There were people panicking, shouting to the police and pointing to the salon ‘he’s in there, he’s in there, go in’,” he explained.
He said he saw two people on the floor of the salon with leg wounds.
A shopkeeper in the area said on condition of anonymity that she heard seven or eight shots, saying “it was total panic. We locked ourselves inside.”
The Paris prosecutor’s office said an investigation had been opened and that “a man aged between 60 and 70 has been arrested and is in custody.”
“His identity is in the process of being checked,” it added.
News of the shooting set nerves jangling in a city that has been repeatedly targeted by Islamist terror groups since 2015.
Paris is also the scene of occasional outbreaks of gang violence.