A man wielding a knife killed at least four people and wounded several others at the Paris police headquarters. The attacker was shot and killed.
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A French law enforcement official went on a knife rampage at police headquarters in Paris on Thursday, killing four police colleagues before being fatally shot, the police union said.
A union representative told France24 the assailant “is a policeman who had a moment of madness.”
It was not immediately clear how many people were injured, but dozens of ambulances and emergency vehicles converged on the site. The lunchtime attack took place across the street from Notre Dame Cathedral in an area popular with tourists. Three of the people he killed were police officers, the fourth an administrator, officials said.
Emery Siamandi, an interpreter who was in the building when the attack happened, told Agence France-Press he heard at least one gunshot.
“People were running everywhere, there was crying everywhere,” he said. “Moments later, I saw police officers crying. They were in a panic.”
French President Emmanuel Macron rushed to the scene, and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner postponed a trip to Turkey to show solidarity at the site of the carnage.
The attack came one day after thousands of French police officers joined a “march of anger” in Paris to protest what they claim are poor working conditions and to draw attention to an increase in suicides.
Union official Loic Travers told the Associated Press the attack apparently began in an office and continued elsewhere inside the large compound. Travers said the 20-year police employee worked as an administrator in the intelligence unit and had not posed known problems until Thursday’s rampage.
“Did he snap, or was there some other reason? It’s still too early to say,” Travers told BFM television.
A major Paris metro station near the scene was shut down for security reasons, the RATP transport authority said.
At the courthouse next door to the police station, a message was broadcast over loudspeakers about the attack and announced that the area was “under surveillance.”
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