A knife attacker has killed at least four police officers and injured at least one other at Paris’ police headquarters. The attacker was reportedly a civilian police staffer.
A knife attack at the Paris police headquarters on Thursday left at least four police officers dead and at least one police officer injured, according the police union.
The attacker was shot dead by another officer, according to union boss Loic Travers and police officials.
The attacker was an IT administrative officer at the Directorate of Intelligence of the Prefecture of Police. The French interior minister said he “had never shown any behavioural difficulties.” He killed one woman and three men in the attack, according to the Paris prosecutor.
The incident occurred at the Ile de la Cite, the major island in the Seine in central Paris.
Television pictures showed multiple emergency service vehicles at the location near Notre Dame Cathedral. The area was sealed off and the local metro station, Cite, closed.
Police did not immediately confirm details of the incident or the motive of the attacker, however investigators told reporters they are exploring the possibility of a personal conflict.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo mourned the loss of the officers in a post on Twitter.
“Paris weeps for its own this afternoon after the horrific attack at the Police Prefecture,” she wrote. “The toll is heavy: Several police officers have lost their lives.”
Emery Siamandi, an employee at police headquarters, told the Associated Press news agency that he heard gunshots and immediately saw two officers leave an office weeping.
A third officer, who Siamandi described as the person who shot and killed the assailant, came out on his knees, also in tears.
French President Emmanuel Macron, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, who was due to travel to Turkey, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and the Paris prosecutor all attended the scene.
The incident happened a day after French police officers went on strike across the country to protest a growing mental health crisis in the force.