Eleven individuals are in custody after police in a Paris residential area fatally shot a man seen holding a knife that authorities think might have been used to take another male’s life found nearby.
The shooting of the suspect, 18, happened around 4 p.m. local time on Friday in the town of Eragny in the Val d’Oise. France’s Anti-Terror Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to ABC News that it has actually opened an examination into whether the murder is connected to terrorism.
The victim was beheaded, authorities stated. He was a male teacher at a regional middle school who had actually received threats after mentioning the questionable Charlie Hebdo cartoons portraying the Prophet Mohammed during a lesson, according to cops. The lesson triggered a complaint from the parents.
Speaking Friday night from the middle school, French President Emmanuel Macron said the teacher was the victim of a “outright Islamist terrorist attack.”
“One of our fellow citizens … was murdered today for teaching, for teaching students freedom of speech, freedom to believe and not to believe,” he said. “It is no coincidence that this evening it is a teacher that this terrorist killed because he wanted to bring down the Republic in its values.”
The victim was recognized by authorities as Samuel Paty, 47, a professor of history and geography at the middle school, College du Bois d’Aulne.
The suspect had actually asked students in front of the school to help him recognize the victim, according to authorities. Paty was attacked in the immediate vicinity of the school while on his way home and also had numerous injuries on his head, in the abdomen and upper limbs, authorities stated. A bloodied knife was found a couple of meters from the scene of the criminal offense, authorities said.
The national police responded quickly after 4 p.m. local time on Friday following the discovery of a body, authorities stated. The suspect was seen running towards the police officers, shooting what appeared like a handgun 5 times, which turned out to be a toy air gun, authorities stated. Three officers fired back, causing the suspect to fall, police stated. While trying to get up, the suspect attempted to stab the officers who neutralized him, authorities said. The suspect was struck by nine bullets, anti-terrorism state prosecutor Jean-Franois Ricard said throughout a press rundown Saturday.
The suspect was determined by authorities as a Moscow-born Chechen refugee who had a French residence permit. He was unknown to intelligence services, authorities stated.
The teenager claimed the attack on Twitter in a post that referred to the victim by name and included a macabre photo of him, Ricard said. “I executed one of your hellhounds who dared to belittle Muhammad,” part of the post said, according to authorities. The account has since been suspended.
Eleven individuals remain in authorities custody, consisting of 4 members of the suspect’s family, authorities said. The student’s dad who grumbled about the teacher’s lesson and a second man who came with him to the middle school are in custody. The second man’s partner was likewise taken in for questioning. 2 people who came forward and indicated that they had contact with the criminal before the events are also in custody. Cops are investigating to establish the involvement of those in custody, authorities said.
Macron guaranteed a quick reaction from the federal government on Friday.
“They will not divide us,” he said. “This is what they are looking for and we must all stand together, citizens.”
Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer reacted to the incident on Twitter Friday night.
France’s counterterror police opened an investigation after a stabbing attack in front of the former offices of Charlie Hebdo last month left two wounded.
Ricard acknowledged that prior incident on Saturday, saying, “This terrorist crime is the second committed during the trial of the January  attacks. … This confirms the very high level of the Islamist terrorist threat that we have to face.”
Charlie Hebdo expressed “horror and revolt” over the death of the teacher in a statement released on Twitter Friday: “We express our deepest support to his family, loved ones and all of the teachers. … This foul act grieves our democracy but must make us more combative than ever to defend our Freedom.”