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

Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurd President Urges World Community to Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid