Paris shooting suspect admits plan to 'assassinate migrants' and kill himself

Pensioner spends day in a psychiatric unit before being returned to police custody

A still from a surveillance video shows the suspected gunman in a salon after firing shots outside a Kurdish centre in Paris. AFP
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A man arrested on suspicion of shooting dead three Kurdish people in Paris has told investigators he had a plan to “assassinate migrants” and commit suicide.

The suspect, named only as William M, said he has a “pathological hatred” of foreigners, prosecutors said.

The man, 69, was arrested after an attack on a Kurdish centre in the upmarket 10th district of the French capital shortly before noon on Friday.

He was transferred to a psychiatric unit after admitting to wanting to take his own life, said Laure Beccuau, the state prosecutor in Paris.

The pensioner was brought back to police custody on Sunday, authorities said.

“But before committing suicide, I always wanted to assassinate migrants, foreigners, ever since [a burglary in his home in 2016]”, the suspected gunman told police.

Mr Beccuau said the man, who is a retired train driver, had admitted to having “a hatred of foreigners that has become pathological”.

Three dead in Paris shooting — in pictures

He was due to appear on Monday before a judge who will decide whether to charge him in the case.

The dead have been named as Emine Kara, a feminist campaigner, Mir Perwer, a singer, and Abdulrahman Kizil, a member of the cultural centre.

Three people were injured in the incident.

The attack sparked fierce protests on the streets of Paris, with some rioters overturning vehicles and smashing shop windows.

Police wearing helmets and carrying shields and batons clashed with demonstrators and used tear gas to disperse crowds.

Many protesters carried flags associated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organisation by the EU, UK and US among others.

The violence has revived the trauma of three unresolved murders of Kurds in 2013 that many blame on Turkey.

Many members of France’s Kurdish community have expressed anger at the French security services, saying they had done too little to prevent the shooting.

The suspected attacker was convicted for armed violence in 2016 by a court in Seine-Saint-Denis, but appealed.

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

He told police that he initially wanted to kill people in the northern Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, which has a large immigrant population.

But he changed his mind as few people were around and his clothing made it difficult for him to reload his weapon, the prosecutor said of the Friday shooting.

He then returned to his parents' house before deciding to go to the 10th district instead.

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

The prosecutor said no links with an extremist ideology were found following a search of his parents' home, a computer and a smartphone.

The suspect said he acquired his weapon four years ago from a member of a shooting club, hid it at his parents' house and had never used it before.

Updated: December 26, 2022, 11:35 AM