The gunman who shot dead three people at a Kurdish facility in Paris has been identified as William M. by the French media. The 69-year-old was also involved in two cases of attempted murders previously in 2016 and 2021, and had been out on bail, reports said.
The gunman attacked a Kurdish cultural centre in the Strasbourg-Saint Denis in the 10th district of Paris. While the motive has not been established, sources said the police is looking at the racist angle.
French Interior Minister GÃ©rald Darmanin, who visited the scene of the attack, said there was no clarity yet on the motive of the attack. He also said the gunman, who has been arrested, had no known link to ultra-right groups.
According to Reuters, the gunman had targeted Kurds. "It was Kurds who were targeted," Juan-Golan Eliberg, an artist who works at the Kurdish center told Reuters.
Police Injured in Clashes
Angry mobs stormed the streets in the neighborhood in the aftermath of the shooting, with Kurdish community members accusing the police of 'failing to protect them'. Footage circulating on social media showed protesters setting fire to cars and clashing with the riot police even as officers used tear gas to disperse the crowds.
"We were walking in the street and heard gunshots ... And then, five or six minutes later, because we know people who work at the hair salon, we went in and we saw that they had arrested a guy - an old man, elderly, tall," a witness told the BBC.
French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the attack. "The Kurds of France have been the target of a heinous attack in the heart of Paris. Thoughts to the victims, to the people who are struggling to live, to their families and loved ones. Recognition to our law enforcement for their courage and composure,' the president said in a statement.
Who is William M?
The ful name of the 69-year-old has been withheld by the police for legal reasons. It has been reported that the man, a retired truck driver, was living with his elderly parents. He was arrested on two occasions, in 2016 and 2021 on charges of attempted murder.
The first case of attempted murder was related to an incident in the multicultural Seine-Saint-Denis suburb of Paris. Though he was convicted in the case, he was freed on bail later. The second case involved allegedly attacking migrants in the city.