News / Europe

Police Identify Paris Gunman, but Many Mysteries Remain

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls (L) and Christian Flaesch, director of the Paris judiciary police, attend a news conference at the headquarters of the Paris police, Nov. 21, 2013.
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls (L) and Christian Flaesch, director of the Paris judiciary police, attend a news conference at the headquarters of the Paris police, Nov. 21, 2013.
Lisa Bryant
French authorities have identified 48-year-old Abdelhakim Dekhar as the gunman behind Paris-area shootings this week, after arresting him in a car park near the capital. They say the DNA of Dekhar - who was an accomplice in 1990s-era shootings - matched samples taken at scenes of these latest attacks that have shaken and mystified France.

They know his name and at least some of his history. But for French authorities, many questions still surround Abdelhakim Dekhar, the man they believe is responsible for this week's Paris-area shooting spree.

At a news conference Thursday, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins described the contents of an undated letter in which Dekhar denounces capitalism and a so-called fascist plot by the media.

Molins said video surveillance footage and witness testimonies proved key in tracking him down. Police arrested Dekhar  the night before at a car park north of the capital. French Interior Minister Manuel Valls says he may have taken a drug overdose, in a possible suicide attempt.

Valls told RTL radio it is now up to France's justice system to establish both the facts and motivations behind Dekhar's acts.
 
Those may be tied to a murky past. French authorities say Dekhar was jailed in 1998 for his role in a string of notorious shootings by leftist extremists that killed three police officers and a taxi driver. He apparently left France after serving his term and Valls says he only returned here fairly recently.
 
Dekhar's former lawyer, Emmanuelle Hauser-Phelizon, told French radio that he was mystified by the shootings.  During his 1990's trial, Dekhar was described by psychologists as "mentally fragile." But his lawyer said Dekhar was calm and thoughtful when he knew him. To have nursed a rage for so many years was incredible.
 
x
​On Monday, a man police now identify as Dekhar opened fire at the leftist Liberation newspaper in Paris, seriously wounding a 23-year-old photographer's assistant. Shortly after, the same man fired shots outside the headquarters of Societe Generale in La Defense business district. He then hijacked a car that dropped him off at the Champs Elysees - where he disappeared. The same man also attacked an editor last week at France's BFM television station.
 
Authorities say police who arrested Dekhar had been tipped off by a friend who sheltered him. So far, it appears he acted alone.

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs