Man Killed At Paris Airport After Trying To Take Soldier’s Gun

The suspect, thought to be a radicalized Muslim, had a history of drug and robbery offenses prior to the incident

A special forces policeman at Orly Airport after a shooting incident. — REUTERS
Mar 18, 2017 at 11:21 AM ET

French authorities on Saturday shot and killed a man who attempted to steal a gun from a solider at Paris’ Orly Airport. The man, 39, reportedly had a criminal record and was also involved in another shooting that took place a few hours earlier in the northern part of the city.

According to Reuters, police identified the attacker only as Zied B., a man with a known history of drug and robbery offenses. An army spokesman described the incident as an “extremely violent attack,” and told the outlet that the suspect was killed after trying to forcefully take a female soldier’s assault rifle. Prior to the episode at Orly, Zied B. is believed to have shot a police officer with an air pistol at a checkpoint.

Without providing a source, BFM TV said the the attacker texted his father: “I’ve screwed up. I’ve shot a policeman.” Both the man’s father and brother have since been taken into police custody.

Further, while authorities have yet to establish a motive for the incident, multiple news outlets have reported that the suspect, thought to be a radicalized Muslim, was being monitored by French intelligence. However, the Associated Press maintained that the Paris prosecutor’s office said “he did not appear in a French government database” of people deemed national security threats.

Nobody else was injured in the attack, but about 3,000 people had to be evacuated from Orly, the city’s second-largest airport, and more than a dozen flights were rerouted through Charles de Gaulle Airport following the incident. However, segments of Orly have since been reopened.

French President Francois Hollande took to Twitter on Saturday to commend his country’s security personnel. “I salute the courage and efficiency of the police and military in the face of assaults committed by a particularly dangerous individual,” he wrote.

The episode once again shook France, a country that is still under a state of emergency following a spate of attacks over the past two years that claimed 235 lives. Further, it also once again highlighted security concerns ahead of the country’s presidential election, a contest that has seen far right-wing, nationalist politicians gain more and more momentum.