A madman with a knife attacked people-seemingly at random-in a busy section of Paris Saturday before he was fatally gunned down by police.
One victim died and four others were wounded in the attack, carried out near the Palais Garnier opera house in the Second Arrondissement, according to Parisian police.
Two of the wounded individuals are in critical condition, said police, who confirmed that they took down the suspect around 9 p.m.
The assailant—a north-African man in his mid-twenties, allegedly told police, “Kill me or I’ll kill you,” according to local media reports.
“Five people attacked in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris by an individual armed with a knife: one victim is dead, two are seriously injured and two are lightly injured. The assailant is deceased,” Parisian police tweeted just after the attack.
An eyewitness reported that police tried to Taze the suspect before firing two shots at him, according to France 24 reporter Charles Pellegrin.
“I just saw the man knifing random people,” wrote Twitter user Esohe Denise Odaro.
Diners at restaurants along rue Saint-Augustin panicked and took cover.
A woman said “we were relaxed, drinking among girlfriends and then all of a sudden we heard gun shots. Then, panick erupted on the street. We didn’t understand and our waiters said, ‘quick, quick, run, go find shelter.’ So we hid. I was curious so I wanted to leave the restaurant. As I walked out I saw a guy lying on the ground. It looked like he was dead. Then police arrived. There were a lot of them,” the witness told BFM TV.
Interior minister Gerard Collomb tweeted about the attack Saturday.
“Attack in Paris: i salute the cold blood and responsiveness of the police forces who neutralized the assailant. My first thoughts are with the victims of this abhorrent act.”
“Under painful circumstances, I want to pay respects to emergency crews, in particular @Pompiers Paris and SAMU Paris. And obviously officers at the @prefpolice whose courage and professionalism deserve our respect,” he added.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo reacted to the attack on Twitter.