French police worker shot dead after killing four officers in Paris

3 October 2019, 12:42 | Updated: 25 October 2019, 15:04

Police have blocked the street after a knife attack at the police headquarters in Paris
Police have blocked the street after a knife attack at the police headquarters in Paris. Picture: Getty

By Kate Buck

Four French police officers have been killed after an employee attacked them with a knife in their Paris headquarters.

The attacker, a 45-year-old admin officer with over 20 years of service, knifed to death colleagues with a ceramic blade which was not picked up by metal detectors, according to reports.

The attacker is said to have began his rampage inside the station and and targeted a female colleague before being killed in the courtyard of the police HQ across the street from Notre Dame Cathedral.

Prosecutors have confirmed the dead are one woman and three men.

The area in the the île de la Cité was sealed off and armed officers are at the scene.

An air ambulance was seen landing at the scene
An air ambulance was seen landing at the scene. Picture: Getty
A heavy police presence is in the area
A heavy police presence is in the area. Picture: PA

Police Union official Loic Travers said the attack appears to have begun in an office and continued elsewhere inside the courtyard.

A police source has claimed the attacker was an administrative officer of Directorate of Intelligence of the Prefecture of Police. 

"He was involved in an argument with someone and then erupted in anger, targeting other police colleagues before being neutralised," they said.

"The attacker is believed to have been an administrative officer working in a secure part of the building – making it very easy for him to walk around freely.

"He would have had security clearance. One victim is dead, along with the attacker. Others are in intensive care."

French emergency services are at the scene
French emergency services are at the scene. Picture: Getty

Mr Travers said the motive is unknown but the employee allegedly responsible for the violence apparently never posed any problems before.

He added he cannot remember an attack on police officers of this magnitude.

The incident happened at around 1pm local time in the courtyard of the headquarters.

An witness told Le Parisien: "I heard a shot, I think it was around 12:30...And then a few moments later I saw policewomen in tears.

"I thought it must be serious. The police were in panic, it was running everywhere. Many people were crying."

The motive behind the attack is not yet known
The motive behind the attack is not yet known. Picture: PA
The area - close to Notre Dame Cathedral - has been cordoned off
The area - close to Notre Dame Cathedral - has been cordoned off. Picture: PA

The motive behind the incident has not yet been made clear.

A witness told La Parisien: "Police were running around in panic.

"I was surprised to hear shooting because this is not a place where you hear that kind of thing. I first thought it was a suicide because there are a lot of those at the moment."

The attack came a day after thousands of officers marched in Paris to protest against low wages, long hours and increasing suicides in their ranks.

The Cite Metro station has also been shut down, but it is not yet clear if the two incidents are linked.

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