Paris shooter had ‘racist’ motive – AFP

A 69-year-old suspect was detained on Friday after fatally shooting three people near a Kurdish cultural center, injuring four more

The gunman who shot and killed three people in the French capital, leaving another four wounded, confessed to police that he had a “racist” motive, AFP has reported, citing sources “close to the case.” The suspect is said to have a history of violent crimes against migrants.

The 20 Minutes daily newspaper, citing an unnamed police officer, claimed the shooter said “he didn’t like Kurds” while being arrested.

Identified as “William M.” by French media, the 69-year-old retired train driver was reportedly found with a US-made Army Colt 1911 pistol, along with “two or three loaded magazines” and a box of at least 25 cartridges.

According to police and judicial sources cited by AFP, the man is believed to have stabbed at least two people with a sword at a migrant camp in December 2021.

In June 2016, he was convicted of armed violence – a ruling which he appealed against, according to the news agency.

A year later, William M. was given a suspended six-month prison sentence for illegally possessing firearms, judicial sources told AFP.

The man was released from custody on December 12, awaiting trial over the sword incident. The Paris prosecutor’s office told the media that the individual was prohibited from carrying weapons and from leaving France.

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Speaking of the suspect’s motives, Prosecutor Laure Beccuau said investigators will “obviously” look into whether racism was at play in Friday’s shooting.

Meanwhile, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said William M. “was clearly targeting foreigners,” although there is no proof so far that he was targeting Kurds specifically. The minister also revealed that the suspect was a member of a shooting sports club and the owner of “several registered weapons.

According to Le Monde newspaper, the man was taken to hospital with serious facial injuries, which he apparently sustained during the arrest.

Meanwhile, left-wing MPs were quick to point the finger at the French government over its supposed failure to take far-right extremism seriously.

The tragedy unfolded in central Paris shortly before midday local time on Friday.

The French media, citing eyewitnesses, reported that at least seven shots were fired in the 10th arrondissement, a neighborhood famous for its shops, restaurants and bars.

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