Gunman Kills 3, Wounds 16 In Southern France Before Being Killed By Police

March 23, 2018

Updated 1:52 p.m. ET

A man who took hostages in a supermarket in southern France killed three people and wounded 16 others, says French President Emmanuel Macron. Investigators say he killed the first of his victims when he hijacked a car, then killed two others at the grocery.

An official with the police union told The Associated Press that the suspect was shot to death when police raided the market in the town of Trebes.

Reuters reports that Mayor Eric Menassi told LCI TV that the man had entered the store yelling, “Allahu Akbar, I’ll kill you all.”

Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said that a police officer offered himself in a hostage swap, and then managed to leave his cell phone on after he entered the supermarket and stayed with the suspect — which allowed for contact with officers outside, the AP reports. Macron said the officer is in serious condition and praised him for saving lives.

The attack may be linked to an earlier incident in the nearby city of Carcassonne. Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said that the suspect earlier fired at police officers on Friday morning, The New York Times reports. The officers were returning from jogging and were wearing athletic clothing with police insignia, the AP reports. One of the officers was shot in the shoulder but the injury is not life-threatening, a police spokesman told the news service.

Speaking at a press conference during an EU Summit in Brussels, Macron said that the incident appears to be a terror attack, after “what was first an attack against police officers.”

Collomb identified the suspect as 26-year-old Redouane Lakdim, describing him as a petty criminal from Carcassonne. Collomb said the suspect had radicalized and was under police surveillance, according to the AP.

“Collomb said Lakdim in the standoff requested the release of the sole surviving assailant of Nov. 13, 2015, attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead,” the AP reports.

Police officers, soldiers, security officers have been increasingly targeted in terrorist attacks in France, as Jake Cigainero reports for NPR:

“Last April, a policeman was shot and killed on the Champs-Elysée. Attacks over the last two years have included a police commander and his girlfriend murdered in their home, as well as attacks on soldiers patrolling at the Louvre, Notre Dame and Orly airport.”

Trebes is a usually sleepy town of about 5,500 in the Pyrenees near the Spanish border.

This is a breaking news story. As often happens in situations like these, some information reported early may turn out to be inaccurate. We’ll move quickly to correct the record and we’ll only point to the best information we have at the time.

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