French police have apprehended the man believed to have been the driver who deliberately rammed his vehicle into a group of French soldiers in Paris this morning. The suspect was shot and wounded while fleeing from police. The incident is being investigated as a terrorist attack.
French police hunting a driver who rammed a car into a group of soldiers in Paris early Wednesday morning have shot, wounded and arrested a man on a highway north of the city.
A Lille policeman was injured by stray gunfire during the arrest, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor told CNN.
The man, who was unarmed and hit with five bullets while attempting to evade police on the A16 motorway, is in a serious condition, according to CNN affiliate BFMTV. The broadcaster reported that he was arrested between Boulogne-sur-Mer and Calais.
The suspect, born in 1980, reportedly drove his vehicle into a police car before being arrested, according to BFMTV. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe confirmed that the person arrested is the same man who carried out the attack.
France’s counter-terror unit is investigating the attack, in a suburb of northwest Paris, which left six soldiers injured, three seriously, according to Paris police. The soldiers’ injuries are not life-threatening.
Police had been searching for a BMW car and its driver who rammed into a group of soldiers outside a barracks at the Place de Verdun in Levallois-Perret around 8 a.m. local time.
There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that this was a deliberate attack.
Minister of the Interior Gerard Collomb said the attack was a “deliberate act.”
“The car accelerated towards the soldiers for five meters in order to hit them,” he told reporters. “We do not believe this could be an accident.”
The mayor of Levallois-Perret, Patrick Balkany, told BFMTV that the car was “pre-positioned” in a small alleyway, waiting for troops from the 35th Infantry Regiment to come out of the building.
The man’s name has not been released but police are searching his home looking for any indications that he is affiliated with terrorist organizations.
The arrest of the suspect sounds like it was a hair raising ordeal.
After spotting the BMW on the motorway, police vehicles tried to force it to pull over, but the driver reportedly rammed several cars in an attempt to get away. Armed officers, despatched from Lille and Rouen, took over the chase. Police say they opened fire after the driver made a gesture that suggested he was about to pull out a gun.
Thankfully none of the soldiers involved in this morning’s ambush attack appear to have sustained life threatening injuries.