French media have identified a French citizen as the dead suspect after his attack on a police patrol on the Champs Élysées which saw one police officer killed and two others injured.
A so-called ‘suspected Islamist’ went on a rampage in Paris Thursday evening, the third terror attack in France in 2017 so far. Local media has identified 39-year-old Karim Cheurfi as the man who was shot dead by police after a running attack against officers with a Kalashnikov-style rifle.
French newspaper Le Monde reports that whilst the identity has not yet been officially confirmed, the individual named is a native of the riot-hit migrant suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis and was considered by the security services as an “excessively dangerous” individual.
Already jailed for 15 years in 2005 for attempted murder after shooting at police officers, Cheurfi had come under investigation again in March 2017 for using social media apps to communicate his desire to kill officers. In addition to his previous conviction for attacking police, he was also known to the force for other criminality including theft and violence.
Three relatives of the suspected killer were arrested by French security services immediately after the attack. A search of the perpetrator’s car, from which he disembarked before opening fire, revealed knives and a pump-action shotgun.
A second suspect handed himself over to police in Belgium on Friday morning. Described as “very dangerous”, police discovered firearms in a search of the man’s domestic address.
The victim of Thursday’s attack has also been identified in French media as 37-year-old Xavier Jugele. Le Parisien reports the officer, who was assigned to the public order and traffic division of Paris police, had been present at the re-opening concert of the Bataclan theatre in 2016, which had itself been the target of a significant terror attack in November 2015 in which 137 died across the city.
Speaking to People magazine at the time, the Jugele said: “I’m happy to be here… glad the Bataclan is re-opening. It’s symbolic. We’re here tonight as witnesses. Here to defend our civil values. This concert is to celebrate life, to say no to terrorists.”
Many commentators have already remarked that the proximity of the attack to Sunday’s presidential election in France will likely influence the vote, with some remarking it could boost support for law and order and pro-border candidates. Not least amongst those is U.S. President Donald J. Trump, who was moved to remark: “The people of France will not take much more of this.”
Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2017