Paris Shooting Leaves Police Officer, Attacker Dead; Champs-Elysees Closed
PARIS — One police officer and an attacker have been killed in a shooting in Paris on Thursday, the French Interior Ministry said.
A car stopped at 102 Champs-Elysees, in front of a police van, ministry spokesman Pierre Henry Brandet said. A man emerged from the car and opened fire on the police van with an “automatic weapon,” he said. The police returned fire and killed the attacker.
One policeman was killed and two were injured. It’s not known if the attacker was a man or a woman.
CNN affiliate BFMTV also reported an unidentified man was hit by “cross-fire” in the Champs-Elysees area. BFMTV has not specified if the unidentified man was the attacker or a bystander.
Police Secretary Yvan Assioma told BFM there were “no theories” about whether this was a criminal act or an act of terror.
“We don’t have a precise idea of the origin of the shots fired,” he said. “One or more perpetrators were taken down by our colleagues, there was a cross fire.”
The Champs-Elysees has been closed to vehicle traffic and all businesses in the area have shut down. Authorities are telling people to avoid the area.
Video showed the normally busy avenue, one of the most famous streets in the world, empty of residents and tourists but teeming with security officers at 9:30 p.m.
The CNN Paris bureau is on this street and staffers reported hearing a dozen shots. At least 20 police vehicles were seen on the street.
Officers could be seen forcibly removing innocent citizens from the area as they attempted to get them to safety.
The shooting comes three days before French general elections and Paris was already in a state of heightened alert.
The Champs-Elysees, a top tourist attraction in Paris, is lined with restaurants, cafes, exclusive designer boutiques and tourist shops.
At one end is the Arc de Triomphe, surrounded by a several-lane-wide roundabout, and the other end stops at the Place de la Concorde, known for its unique obelisk monument.
The presidential palace, the Elysee, is only a few blocks away.
French police tweeted, “Police intervention underway in the area of the #ChampsElysees avoid the sector and follow the instructions of the police forces.”
The US State Department put out a cautionary tweet, saying: “If you’re in #Paris, monitor local news. #ChampsElysées has been closed. Authorities are telling people to avoid the area after a shooting.”
Developing story – more to come