The suspect in a Paris shooting that left three Kurds dead told prosecutors he set out to kill foreigners. The 69-year-old man was admitted into a psychiatric ward.
The suspect in a shooting incident that left three Kurds dead and three others injured in the French capital last Friday has admitted to a "pathological" hatred of foreigners.
Paris prosecutors said in a Sunday statement that the 69-year-old man described himself as depressive and having suicidal tendencies. His interrogation was halted on medical grounds on Saturday, and he remained in a psychiatric ward on Sunday.
If released from psychiatric care, the suspect could face charges of racially motivated murder, attempted murder and arms violations.
The shooting at a Kurdish cultural center shocked the community as it was preparing to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the killings of three Kurdish women in Paris.
Thousands of Kurdish activists and anti-racism groups protested in Paris on Saturday to demand answers.
What did the suspect tell the prosecution?
During his questioning, the suspect said that a burglary at his home in 2016 was a turning point for him, triggering a "hatred of foreigners that became truly pathological."
He added that he originally wanted to attack people in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis, where many migrants live. He went there armed "to commit murder of foreigners," according to the statement.
However, after paying the suburb a short visit on Friday, his plans changed when he found only few people there.
He then changed course, headed for the bustling 10th district. There, he fatally shot three people at a Kurdish cultural center, then injured three more at a nearby hairdressing salon, before one of the injured people took control of the situation until the police arrived.
The suspect told the prosecution he planned on killing himself after the spree.
What else do we know about the suspect?
A search at the home of the suspect's parents, where he resided, produced no evidence of extremist links, the prosecution said. However, acquaintances said they had noticed a radical change in his behavior since the 2016 burglary.
"He is crazy. He's an idiot," the French AFP news agency quoted his father as saying to a television channel.
He told the prosecution he was against the Kurds because "they took prisoners instead of killing them in their fight against the terrorist militant Islamic State," the German dpa news agency reported.
Though his name was not officially revealed, French media refers to the suspect as William M. He has a history of weapons offenses and was convicted in 2016 of armed violence by a court in Seine-Saint-Denis, which he appealed, AFP reported.
He was convicted again in 2017 for illegal possession of firearms. Most recently, he was charged last year with racist violence. He allegedly attacked a migrant camp in a park in eastern Paris, stabbing migrants and slashing their tents with a sword.
He was released only recently pending trial over that attack.
rmt/jcg (AP, AFP, dpa)
First published: December 25, 2022
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