French President François Hollande called the Thursday night shooting on Paris’ Champs-Élysées that left one police officer dead and two others injured “terrorist in nature.” The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq channel, the AFP reports, also referring to the man as “the Belgian.”
A French Interior Ministry spokesperson said the incident began in the early evening, when the attacker started shooting at police officers stationed on the famed shopping destination in Central Paris. The attacker was eventually killed in a shootout with police. The Champs-Élysées, which draws thousands of tourists each day, remained on lockdown as police continue their investigation.
Two police sources told the Associated Press that the shooter had been previously flagged by authorities as an extremist. Anti-terror prosecutors are part of the ongoing investigation.
Both CNN and the AP have identified the man as a French national who shot two police officers in 2001.
The AFP reports police raided a home near Paris believed to belong to the attacker, and according to Reuters, police have also issued an arrest warrant for a second suspect who has yet to be identified, but who the warrant said had come to France from Brussels.
This weekend France heads into the first round of a closely contested four-person presidential race that could see the country elect populist far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen, who’s currently trailing the moderate, EU-favored Emmanuel Macron. Three of eleven candidates, including Le Pen and Macron have since suspended their campaigns.
The country has been in a state of emergency and on its highest terror alert since 2015 when a series of attacks on Paris and Nice left more than 200 people dead.
This story is developing, check back for updates.