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Gunman Kills Three in Central Paris

Gunman Kills Three in Central Paris

Gunman Kills Three at Kurdish Community Center in Central Paris

The suspected killer is in custody and was well-known to police from two prior incidents.

By Xiaofei Xu, Niamh Kennedy, and Joseph Ataman, CNN

(CNN) – Three people died and four others were injured after a gunman opened fire at a Kurdish community center, and a nearby restaurant and barber shop in Paris on Friday, local mayor Alexandra Cordebard said.

“Following the dramatic shooting which took place this morning, I returned to Paris and will go to the scene,” French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin tweeted. “All my thoughts go to the families of the victims. The perpetrator was arrested.”

The shooting in the 10th arrondissement has not been designated as a terrorist incident, though all avenues are being investigated.

The suspected attacker has been arrested. Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said the gunman's motive is unclear and that an investigation has been launched.

Beccuau told journalists at the scene that the suspected attacker had previously been known to the police to have been allegedly involved in two incidents: one in the Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis; and the other at a migrant tent camp in Bercy, near the French Finance Ministry, in the 12th arrondissement of Paris.

Paris’s anti-terror prosecutor is “evaluating” the facts around Friday’s shooting, but the investigation is still being led by the city’s judicial authorities, the anti-terror prosecutor’s office told CNN Friday.

“We are evaluating the facts to know if the event should be qualified as an act of terrorism,” the prosecutor's office said.

All three people killed during the shooting inside and near a Kurdish community center on Friday are Kurds, the center's lawyer confirmed to CNN.

The lawyer declined to give out any further information as the investigation is still ongoing.

Paris Prosecutor Laure Beccuau said on Friday that investigators are not ruling out possible "racist motivations" behind the shooting, which occurred at the Kurdish Cultural Center Ahmet-Kaya on Rue d’Enghien.

“When it comes to racist’s motivations, of course, these elements are part of the investigation that was just launched,” Beccuau said.

Following the incident, crowds gathered near the center where people from the Kurdish diaspora were heard chanting Kurdish phrase “Şehid Namirin” – which means, “those who are lost are never really lost but with us,” according to CNN’s team on the ground.

Some people were also heard chanting “Murderer Erdogan,” in a reference to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s robust attitude against Kurdish nationalism and his policies towards Kurdish far-left militant and political groups based in Turkey and Iraq.

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