Police guard Paris media offices after double shooting

Monday 18 November 2013 23.50
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An image of the suspect taken from BFM TV Channel surveillance footage in Paris on Friday
An image of the suspect taken from BFM TV Channel surveillance footage in Paris on Friday
Police officers patrol Champs-Elysees Avenue as efforts continue to trace the gunman
Police officers patrol Champs-Elysees Avenue as efforts continue to trace the gunman
Police stand outside the entrance of the headquarters of the Societe Generale bank in the La Defense business district
Police stand outside the entrance of the headquarters of the Societe Generale bank in the La Defense business district

French police are searching for a lone gunman after he opened fire at the offices of a left-wing French newspaper and outside the headquarters of a major bank in Paris.

There has been no indication of a motive.

The assailant opened fire at the central Paris offices of daily newspaper, Liberation, seriously injuring a photographer's assistant before fleeing.

Around 90 minutes later, a man opened fire on the street outside the suburban headquarters of Societe Generale, a spokeswoman for the bank said.

Nobody was hurt in that attack.

President Francois Hollande, speaking from Jerusalem, said he had asked his interior minister to use all possible means to find the gunman, "who tried to kill and could still do so".

"Freedom of the press is being targeted," Mr Hollande told French media from Israel.

Police were deployed outside the offices of other media outlets in the French capital.

A police helicopter hovered over the Champs-Elysees area where the gunman had vanished into the crowd, having hijacked a car and forced the driver to drop him there.

A Paris prosecutor released two photographs showing the suspect from surveillance footage and urged the public to call in any tips to a hotline.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said that one man wearing different outfits is suspected to have fired shots at the bank and the newspaper, hijacked a car and threatened people with a gun on Friday at a 24-hour news channel, BFMTV.

"Given the similarities between these four cases... we are favouring the hypothesis that there is one author," Mr Molins told journalists.

"The suspect is of European type, with salt-and-pepper hair and possibly 2 or 3 days of stubble."

Liberation managing editor Fabrice Rousselot said witnesses described the attacker as a short-haired man in his 40s.

The wounded person was hit in the chest, a police official said, adding that the motive of the attack was unclear.
              
"He walked in, fired twice and left," Mr Rousselot told reporters.
              
Deputy editor-in-chief Fabrice Tassel said in a tweet that the young male victim was fighting for his life in hospital.