French officials say the shooting on the Champs-Élysées Thursday evening that killed a police officer and wounded two others appears to be an act of terrorism. The gunman, who was reportedly known to French law enforcement for previous radical Islamist activities, was also shot and killed by police as he tried to flee the scene on foot. French President François Hollande addressed the nation shortly after the attack, saying that all signs pointed to terrorist motive for the shooter. On Friday (local time), ISIS issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack.
A spokesman for the French Interior Ministry, Pierre-Henry Brandet, outlined how the shooting took place during an interview the BFMTV news channel. (via the New York Times)
Mr. Brandet said that shortly before 9 p.m. a car pulled up to a police vehicle that was parked on the famous boulevard. The man opened fire on the police vehicle with an automatic weapon, killing an officer. He then “tried to leave by running away while aiming at, and trying to target, other police officers,” Mr. Brandet said. “He managed to wound two others and was shot dead by the police forces,” Mr. Brandet added. It was not immediately known if anyone else was in the attacker’s car.
The attack comes just days before France will head to the polls for the first round of voting for a new president. The country has been in an extended state of emergency since the 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo headquarters and at the Bataclan that left 130 people dead.