3 dead in Kurdish center shooting in Paris; suspect arrested

Dec 22, 2022, 2:02 PM | Updated: Dec 23, 2022, 1:22 pm
A members of Kurdish community waves the Kurdish communist flags next to a barricade on fire at the...

A members of Kurdish community waves the Kurdish communist flags next to a barricade on fire at the crime scene where a shooting took place in Paris, Friday, Dec. 23, 2022. Skirmishes erupted in the neighbourhood a few hours after the shooting, as members of the Kurdish community shouted slogans against the Turkish government, and police fired tear gas to disperse an increasingly agitated crowd. A shooting targeting a Kurdish cultural center in Paris Friday left three people dead and three others wounded. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

(AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

PARIS (AP) — A man who was charged last year with attacking migrants shot and killed three people at a Kurdish cultural center Friday in Paris in an assault that appeared to be specifically aimed at foreigners, authorities said.

The shooting, which also wounded three people, shook the Kurdish community in the French capital and sparked skirmishes between angry Kurds and police. It also rattled merchants in the bustling neighborhood in central Paris on the eve of Christmas weekend and put officers on alert for more violence.

Authorities identified the suspect as a 69-year-old Paris man who had been jailed for attacking migrants living in tents and released earlier this month. Investigators were considering a possible racist motive for the shooting.

The attack occurred at midday at the cultural center and a nearby restaurant and hair salon, according to the mayor of that part of the city, Alexandra Cordebard.

Skirmishes erupted in the neighborhood a few hours later as members of the Kurdish community shouted slogans against the Turkish government, and police fired tear gas to disperse the increasingly agitated crowd. Some garbage bins were set on fire.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the suspect was clearly targeting foreigners and had acted alone and was not affiliated with any extreme-right or other radical movements.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “The Kurds of France were the target of an odious attack in the heart of Paris. Thoughts for the victims, those who are fighting to survive, to their families and loved ones.”

Shocked members of the city’s Kurdish community called it a terrorist act. They said they had recently been warned by police of threats to Kurdish targets, and they demanded justice.

Paris Prosecutor Laure Beccuau said terrorism prosecutors were in contact with investigators but had not given any indication of a terrorist motive. Darmanin was holding a special meeting Friday night to assess threats to the Kurdish community in France.

A construction worker who was on a job nearby described seeing the assailant go first to the cultural center, then to the restaurant and the hair salon. The worker told The Associated Press that he saw the assailant wound three people before two passersby in the salon intervened and stopped him.

The worker, who spoke on the condition that his name not be published because he was concerned for his security, described the attacker as silent and calm as he wielded a small-caliber pistol.

The suspect was wounded in the face during his arrest, Beccuau said.

Police cordoned off the area in the 10th arrondissement of the French capital, on a busy street with shops and restaurants near the Gare de l’Est train station.

One of the wounded was in critical condition, and two others were hospitalized with less serious injuries, the prosecutor said.

The suspect, who is French, attended a shooting range in a sports club and had several registered weapons, Darmanin said. The man was not on any radicalism watch lists.

The suspect had past convictions for illegal arms possession and armed violence, and was handed preliminary charges of “premeditated, armed violence of a racist nature” for the attack last year on a migrant camp in Paris, the prosecutor said.

He had been held in provisional detention in that case until Dec. 12, when he was released under judicial supervision, ordered to get psychiatric care and banned from carrying weapons.

In the attack on migrants, the suspect wielded a saber and wounded some people in a makeshift camp, said Yann Manzi of aid group Utopia 54.

He lamented the suspect’s recent release, as did Kurds who gathered at the scene of Friday’s shooting.

“We do not at all feel protected in Paris,” activist Murat Roni told The Associated Press. “We don’t feel defended by the French justice system. It’s clearly the Kurds who were targeted.”

He described the cultural center as being “like the embassy for Kurds in Paris,” a gathering place for events, political discussion and assistance with immigration procedures — “a house where all Kurds get together.”

In 2013, three women Kurdish activists, including Sakine Cansiz, a founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, were found shot dead at a Kurdish center in Paris. A Turkish citizen was charged with their killing, although suspicion also fell on the Turkish intelligence service.

Turkey’s army has been battling against Kurdish militants affiliated with the banned PKK in southeast Turkey as well as in northern Iraq. Turkey’s military also recently launched a series of air and artillery strikes against Syrian Kurdish militant targets in northern Syria.

The PKK is considered a terrorist organization in Turkey, Europe and the United States, and has led an armed insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

France was hit with a string of deadly attacks by Islamic extremists in 2015 and 2016 and remains on alert for terrorism-related violence.

___

Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, Nicolas Garriga in Paris, and Nicolas Vaux-Montagny in Lyon, contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

The logo for OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, appears on a mobile phone, in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 31...
Associated Press

Cheaters beware: ChatGPT maker releases AI detection tool

ChatGPT is trying to curb its reputation as a freewheeling cheating machine with a new tool that can help detect if artificial intelligence wrote it
20 hours ago
This undated photo provided by the Grants Pass Police Department shows Benjamin Obadiah Foster. Fos...
Rio Yamat and Andrew Selsky, Associated Press

Oregon kidnap suspect previously released the day he arrived at prison

A man at the center of an intense police search in Oregon after a violent kidnapping last week was released from custody in October 2021 by Nevada prison officials on the same day he was transferred to the state's custody to serve a kidnapping sentence, authorities said Monday.
20 hours ago
The final Boeing 747 sits on the tarmac outside of the factory at a ceremony for delivery, Tuesday,...
Associated Press

Boeing bids farewell to an icon, delivers last 747 jumbo jet

SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing bid farewell to an icon on Tuesday, delivering its final 747 jumbo jet as thousands of workers who helped build the planes over the past 55 years looked on. Since its first flight in 1969, the giant yet graceful 747 has served as a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of […]
20 hours ago
seattle police...
Associated Press

Name of Seattle officer in crash that killed woman released

Police have released the name of a Seattle police officer who was responding to a medical call when his patrol SUV hit and killed a 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula last week in a city crosswalk.
20 hours ago
FILE - Former U.N. Ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley leaves after speaking duri...
Associated Press

Nikki Haley planning Feb. 15 launch for 2024 White House bid

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Nikki Haley is moving closer to making her presidential campaign official. On Wednesday, supporters of the former South Carolina governor will get an email invitation to a Feb. 15 launch event in Charleston, at which she plans to announce her campaign, according to a person familiar with the plans but not […]
20 hours ago
FILE - The Colorado River passes through Grand Junction, Aug. 24, 2022, in Mesa County, Colo. Calif...
Associated Press

California releases its own plan for Colorado River cuts

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California released a plan Tuesday detailing how Western states reliant on the Colorado River should save more water. It came a day after the six other states in the river basin made a competing proposal. In a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, California described how states could conserve between […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
3 dead in Kurdish center shooting in Paris; suspect arrested