PARIS: A huge manhunt was under way in Paris Tuesday for a lone gunman who shot and critically wounded a newspaper photographer before opening fire outside a bank headquarters and hijacking a car.
Officers on foot and in squad cars deployed throughout the nervous city, taking up positions outside media offices, along the Champs-Elysees avenue and at entrances to stations for the underground train system, the Metro.
Investigators have so far been unable to identify the gunman, described by French Interior Minister Manuel Valls as “a real danger”.
His motive remains unclear, but police believe he was also behind an incident on Friday in which staff at a Paris television station were threatened by a man carrying a gun.
The attacker, wearing a cap and wielding a 12-gauge shotgun, opened fire at the offices of left-wing newspaper Liberation at about 10:15 am (0915 GMT) Monday.
A 27-year-old photographer arriving for his first day of freelance work at the paper suffered buckshot wounds to the chest and stomach.
He was taken to hospital in a critical condition. The newspaper later said he underwent surgery and was being kept in intensive care.
After fleeing the daily’s offices in the east of Paris, the same man is believed to have crossed the city to the La Defense business district, where he fired several shots outside the main office of the Societe Generale bank, hitting no one.
He then reportedly hijacked a car and forced the driver at gunpoint to drop him off close to the Champs-Elysees in the centre of the French capital, where gun crime is rare.
There were rumours that the man was armed with grenades as well as the hunting-style pump-action shotgun used in the two shootings.