Paris shooting supsect is man jailed in ‘Bonnie-and-Clyde’ murder case from 20 years ago: French police

France says the suspect arrested over this week’s shootings in Paris is a man previously jailed for his role in a 'Bonnie-and-Clyde' style multiple murder that gripped the country 20 years ago.

A photo of Abdelhakim Dekhar taken in 1994 during his jailing over the Rey-Maupin shooting. Faites Enter L’Accuse/ Juin Media via AFP
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PARIS // The suspect arrested for a shooting spree in Paris was previously jailed for his role in a “Bonnie-and-Clyde” style multiple murder that gripped the country 20 years ago.

Abdelhakim Dekhar was arrested late on Wednesday after a major manhunt following a shooting this week at the left-wing newspaper Liberation and at the headquarters of the Societe Generale bank.

His DNA matched samples from the scenes of the attacks, officials said.

“All the evidence today points to his involvement in the events that he has been charged with,” French interior minister Manuel Valls.

Dekhar, who is in his late 40s, was convicted in 1998 of buying a gun used in an October 1994 shooting attack by student Florence Rey and her lover Audry Maupin. Three policemen and a taxi driver were killed in a case that shook France.

He served four years in jail for his role in the killings.

Dekhar was arrested in a vehicle in an underground car park in the north-western Paris suburb of Bois-Colombes, after apparently trying to commit suicide.

Mr Valls said that “everything appears to point to a suicide attempt”, and sources said Dekhar was semi-conscious when he was found.

The head of the Paris criminal police department, Christian Flaesch, said he was in custody in a “medical environment” and was not in a fit state to speak to investigators.

Earlier DNA tests confirmed that a single person was responsible for the series of incidents across Paris in the last week, which also included the hijacking of a car on the famed Champs Elysees and threats to staff at a 24-hour television station.

Mr Valls said investigators would need more information about the suspect’s past to be able to “understand his motivation”.

The arrest came after a witness statement to police, who had on Tuesday released a new photograph of the suspect and received hundreds of calls from potential witnesses.

One of them was a man who had housed the suspect, said a source connected with the investigation.

The witness quoted the suspect as saying about the shooter case: “I’ve made a stupid mistake.”

The shooter opened fire with a 12-gauge shotgun at the offices of Liberation early on Monday, hitting a 23-year-old photographer’s assistant then firing another blast that hit the roof before leaving within seconds.

He then crossed the city to the La Defense business district on its western edge, where he fired several shots outside the main office of the Societe Generale bank, hitting no one.

He hijacked a car and forced the driver to drop him off near the Champs Elysees in the centre of the French capital, before disappearing.

Police say he was the same man who last Friday stormed into the Paris headquarters of a 24-hour TV news channel, BFMTV, briefly threatening staff with a gun before hurrying out.

* Agence France-Presse