French police have 'neutralized' the suspected gunman who killed 3 in a Christmas market shooting

  • French police have “neutralized” the Strasbourg shooting suspect, French media outlets reported Thursday.
  • The suspect was identified on Wednesday as 29-year-old Chérif Chekatt, a Strasbourg native.
  • Chekatt is believed to have opened fire on a local Christmas market, using a handgun and knife, and ultimately killing three people and injuring more than a dozen others.

French police said Thursday they “neutralized” the suspect who is believed to have killed three people when he allegedly opened fire on a Strasbourg Christmas market on Tuesday, according to French media outlets.

The suspect was identified on Wednesday as 29-year-old Chérif Chekatt, a Strasbourg native.

Citing two police sources, Reuters reported Chekatt was killed. Police haven’t officially released a statement yet.

Police said Chekatt was armed with a handgun and a knife when he opened fire on a Christmas market in Strasbourg. He allegedly yelled “Allahu akbar” — Arabic for “God is great” — and exchanged gunfire with security forces.

Heitz said Chekatt was well-known to authorities before Tuesday’s attack, and had racked up 27 convictions across France, Germany, and Switzerland for violent crimes and thefts.

Read more:French police identified the suspected Strasbourg gunman because he fled the shooting scene in a taxi and bragged to the driver about his attack

29-year-old Chérif Chekatt, left.
Reuters/Police Nationale

“He had been incarcerated multiple times and was known to the prison administration for his radicalization and his proselytizing attitude,” Heitz said, according to The New York Times.

French security services had also flagged Chekatt on the country’s “Fiche S” or “S File” database, which lists some 20,000 people suspected of radicalization or posing a national-security risk.

Earlier on Tuesday, police had attempted to arrest Chekatt as part of an unrelated murder investigation, according to Laurent Nuñez, the secretary of state for France’s interior ministry. Police even searched Chekatt’s apartment and found a defensive grenade, a rifle, ammunition, and knives.

But Nuñez said Chekatt evaded arrest that morning, and went on to allegedly attack the Christmas market. Authorities have arrested four people associated with Chekatt.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Published at Thu, 13 Dec 2018 20:45:27 +0000