Paris shooting suspect Abdelhakim Dekhar previously lived in London
Suspect has been named as Abdelhakim Dekhar
Thursday 21 November 2013
The man suspected of Monday's gun attack on a French newspaper had lived until recently in London, it emerged on Thursday.
Abdelhakim Dekhar, 52, was was arrested on Wednesday night as he lay semi-conscious in a car in an underground car-park near Paris after taking an overdose. Authorities said that his DNA matches traces left by the gunman who grievously wounded a young photographer in the lobby of Liberation on Monday morning.
Mr Dekhar was jailed in 1998 for acting as an accessory to a young far Left or anarchist couple, dubbed the "French Bonnie and Clyde". The couple killed three policemen and a taxi-driver during a failed robbery and car chase in October 1994.
Since he left prison in 1999, Mr Dekhar is believed to have spent many years abroad, including several periods in London. He was arrested on Wednesday evening after a tip-off from a friend who recognised him in security camera footage released by the authorities.
Heavily armed police at first raided a hotel at Bois-Colombes, six miles north west of Paris. Mr Dekhar was found soon afterwards slumped in a "semi-comatose state" in in an underground car-park with an open packet of pills nearby.
The Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told a press conference today that investigators had found two rambling and confused documents written by Dekhtar, which "merited examination by a psychiatrist". In one of the documents, Dekhtar attacked capitalism and the media and protested about the violence in Libya and Syria. He made no mention of his suspected crimes.
Earlier the interior minister, Manuel Valls, saluted the work of police during a 72-hour nationwide manhunt and said that "all the fact that we have today point to (Dekhar's) involvement". His motives for the attack on Liberation - and other attacks without casualties at a bank headquarters on Monday and a TV station last Friday - remain unclear.
Investigators are waiting for Mr Dekhar to recover from his overdose in a secure hospital before questioning him later on Thursday.
He will be formally accused of "attempte murder" and "kidnapping".
The friend who tipped police off sometimes gave Dekhar shelter when he visited the Paris area. The friend told police that he had first met Dekhtar in London 13 years ago. He recognised the gunman in CCTV footage. The informant said that he had spoken to him about the shootings on Tuesday and that he had admitted to "doing something stupid".
Mr Dekhar ended his prison sentence in the so-called "Rey-Maupin" affair in 1999. He was convicted in 1998 of helping to supply guns to a young student couple, Florence Rey and Audry Maupin, who shot dead three policemen and a taxi-driver during a politically-motivated robbery. Although given a four year sentence, most of the term had already been served awaiting trial.
Both Mr Dekhar and the couple were involved in anarchist or extreme left movements which wanted to provoke a revolution in France. Mr Maupin died of wounds that he received during a shoot-out with police. Ms Rey left prison in 2009
At 10.15 on Monday morning, a man dressed in a long khaki coat and light blue jeans, burst into the lobby area of the left-wing newspaper Liberation in a converted garage near the Place de la Republique in central Paris. He immediately fired two shots from a double-barrelled, pump action hunting rifle into the back of a young photographer who was entering a lift.
The man fled without saying a word. The young photographer, named only as Cesar, 23, was gravely wounded. One bullet passed through a lung. He was said to be recovering slowly on Wednesday, but still in a critical condition, after a series of operation at the La Pitie Salpatriere hospital.
Matching DNA samples were found on bullet cases at Liberation and cartridges ejected from a gun by a man who menaced staff, without shooting, at BFM TV last Friday. Matching traces were also found on cartridges left on the ground outside the headquarters of the Societe Generale bank, in the La Defense office district, where a gunman fired random shots at windows 90 minutes after the attack on Liberation.
Another DNA sample was found on the door handle of a car which the the gunman hijacked after the shooting at la Defense. No match was found with any of the more than the 2,000,000 people in the French national DNA database because Dekhar left prison before such records were started.
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