White Paris shooter a ‘gun enthusiast’, admits to being ‘racist’

A 69-year-old white French gunman who opened fire on a Kurdish cultural center in Paris, killing three people, told investigators he was racist, a source close to the case said Saturday.

The gunman, who has a history of racist violence, initially attacked the Kurdish cultural center before entering a hair salon where he was arrested.

Paris shooting

Shots fired at the center and a nearby hair salon shortly before noon on Friday sparked panic in the French capital’s trendy 10th arrondissement, a bustling area of ​​shops and restaurants that is home to a large Kurdish population.

Three others were injured in the attack which the gunman blamed on his “racist”, the source said.

Paris shooter arrested

He was found with a box loaded with at least 25 rounds of ammunition and “two or three loaded magazines,” the source added.

The gun was a “heavily used” US Army Colt 1911 pistol.

French President Emmanuel Macron said “the Kurds of France have been the target of a heinous attack in the heart of Paris” and ordered the Paris police chief to meet with Kurdish community leaders on Saturday .

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From left: French MP for La France Insoumise, Aurelien Saintoul, French MP for LFI Carlos Martens Bilongo, spokesman for the Kurdish Democratic Council in France Agit Polat, leader of the French left-wing party LFI Jean-Luc Melenchon, French MP for LFI Eric Coquerel, CDKF lawyer David Andic and CDKF spokesman Berivan Firat attend a press conference in a Paris restaurant. Photo: AFP / Thomas Samson

Of the three people injured, one was in intensive care in hospital and two were treated for serious injuries.

Three dead

According to the Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDK-F), a woman and two men were among the dead.

Emine Kara was a leader of the Kurdish Women’s Movement in France, said the organization’s spokesman, Agit Polat.

His request for political asylum in France had been rejected.

The other victims were Abdulrahman Kizil and Mir Perwer, a political refugee and artist, according to the CDK-F.

A police source confirmed that Kara and Kizil were among the victims.

The Kurdish community center, called Center Ahmet Kaya, is used by a charity that organizes concerts and exhibitions, and helps the Kurdish diaspora in the Paris region.

Vigils and riots

The Kurdish community is due to hold a demonstration in Paris on Saturday afternoon.

Within hours of the Paris shooting, Kurdish protesters clashed with police, who fired tear gas to try to disperse them as they tried to break through a police cordon deployed to protect Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who had arrived in place of events

Riot police officers disperse protesters during a standoff at the site of several shootings in Paris on December 23. Photo: AFP / Thomas Samson

Protesters threw objects at police as they expressed fury at an attack they saw as deliberate and which they said French security services had done too little to prevent.

Several cars parked in the area and police vehicles had their windows smashed as protesters threw bricks.

Who is the Paris shooter?

The shooter – named as William M. in French media – is a gun enthusiast with a history of weapons offenses who had been released on bail earlier this month.

The retired machinist was convicted of armed violence in 2016 by a court in the multicultural Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, but appealed.

A year later he was convicted of illegally possessing a firearm.

‘He’s crazy’

Last year, he was accused of racist violence after stabbing migrants and slashing their tents with a sword in a park in eastern Paris.

“He’s crazy, he’s an idiot,” his father told TV channel M6.

Often described as the world’s largest stateless people, the Kurds are a Muslim ethnic group spread across Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran.

Alexandre Hielard / Murielle Kasprzak © Agence France-Presse

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