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French police arrest suspect in Paris shootings

Thursday, 21 November 2013 - 9:00am IST | Agency: Reuters

French police have arrested a man suspected of shooting and seriously wounding an employee of the left-wing Paris newspaper Liberation and firing a shotgun at the headquarters of a major bank, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said on Thursday.

The suspect, Abdelhakim Dekhar, had ties with a couple involved in a Paris shootout with police in 1994 that killed five people, including three officers, Valls told a news conference. That incident became known as the Rey-Maupin affair.

Dekhar was arrested late on Wednesday in a semi-conscious state in his car in the parking lot of the northwestern Paris suburb of Bois-Colombes. Police had received a tip-off of his whereabouts from someone with whom he had recently stayed.

"Everything suggests that he tried to commit suicide," said Valls, who added that the suspect's motive for the shootings remained unknown. Police mounted a massive manhunt for the gunman after he wounded a 23-year-old photographer's assistant in the lobby of Liberation before fleeing.

Shortly afterwards, he fired at least three shots into the lobby of the headquarters of Societe Generale in the La Defense business district. There were no casualties.

The gunman then vanished into the crowds of Paris' Champs-Elysees boulevard after forcing a driver at gunpoint to take him there. Police were able to identify Dekhar using DNA traces left behind on spent cartridges and in the car he used to get to the Champs-Elysees.

Dekhar was sentenced to four years in prison for buying a gun that was used by the couple in the 1994 shootout during a car chase in eastern Paris.


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