PARIS: A 69-year-old white French gunman who opened fire at a Kurdish cultural centre in Paris killing three people told investigators he was racist, a source close to the case said Saturday (Dec 24).
The shots at the centre and a nearby hairdressing salon shortly before midday on Friday caused panic in the trendy 10th district of the French capital, a bustling area of shops and restaurants that is home to a large Kurdish population.
Three others were wounded in the attack that the gunman attributed to his being “racist”, the source said.
He was found with a case loaded with a box of at least 25 cartridges and “two or three loaded magazines”, the source added.
The weapon was a “much-used” US Army Colt 1911 pistol.
French President Emmanuel Macron said “the Kurds in France have been the target of an odious attack in the heart of Paris” and ordered the Paris police chief to meet with leaders of the Kurdish community on Saturday.
The gunman, who has a history of racist violence, initially targeted the Kurdish cultural centre before entering a hairdressing salon where he was arrested.
Of the three wounded people, one was being given intensive care in hospital and two were treated for serious injuries.
According to the Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDK-F), the dead included one woman and two men.
Emine Kara was a leader of the Kurdish Women’s Movement in France, the organisation’s spokesman Agit Polat said. Her claim for political asylum in France had been rejected.
The other victims were Abdulrahman Kizil and Mir Perwer, a political refugee and artist, according to the CDK-F.
A police source confirmed that Kara and Kizil were among the victims.