PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron – accompanied by PM Edouard Philippe, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner & Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez – reached the scene of crime at the Police Headquarters (opposite Cathedral Notre Dame) where a (civilian) administrative officer stabbed four people (one woman and three men) to death using ceramic knife today before he was gunned down by another officer.
Earlier the Elysee Palace’s statement held: “The President of the Republic went to the police station to show his support and solidarity to all the staff.”
Taking to the Twitter Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has said: “Paris cries for its own this afternoon after this terrible attack at the @prefpolice. Heavy casualties, several police officers lost their lives. On my behalf and that of Parisians, my first thoughts go to the families of the victims and their loved ones.”
According to the Police Union Secretary Loïc Travers motive of the attacker – an administrative employee for the Police – was not known yet (however, investigators are exploring the possibility of a personal conflict): “He has been with us for over 20 years,” he informed while talking to the Press outside Police Headquarters.
PARIS: The scribe reports from Notre Dame Cathedral, across the street where stabbing took place in the 19th century police complex. Metro Station at Notre Dame was closed.
Sources while talking to NPTV have informed that the 45-year-old assailant Mickaël Harpon was a technology administrator working as computer scientist in the intelligence branch at the Police Headquarters for the last 16 years.
Mickaël Harpon, a civilian officer, started the attack at lunchtime in his office then moved to other parts of the building. The killing spree lasted only a few minutes. According to the Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, the assailant had never shown any behavioral difficulties:”On the face of it, he looked a model employee.” He had complete security clearance from a concerned office that coordinates counter-terrorist intelligence-gathering in Paris.
Thursday afternoon the assailant’s home was raided and his wife was taken into custody for questioning. She stated that he had a disagreement with his bosses. She further informed that Mickaël Harpon had severe hearing disability and had a psychotic episode. According to the widow Mickaël Harpon manifested unusual agitated behavior, was incoherent and heard voices the night before committing crime. She has not been charged for any crime.
Incidentally, the stabbing tragedy happened just a day after thousands of French police officers went on strike. They marched in Paris to protest against low wages, long hours and a growing mental health crisis resulting into increasing suicide rate in their ranks.