Two police officers were injured and another killed after a gunman opened fire with an automatic weapon near the Champs-Élysées in Paris, France, on Thursday.
Questions are mounting over the identity of the gunman, his tangled history with French police, and how law enforcement failed to stop the attack and its carnage on men in uniform.
— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) April 20, 2017
Karim Cheurfi was killed in a police shootout after the known “extremist” opened fire on the Parisian thoroughfare.
The man was on a terror “watch list” and had been radicalized in prison, according to The Daily Mail:
Karim Cheurfi, a 39-year-old, was known as a threat to the country and described as an ‘extremist’ by authorities, who had placed him on a watch list. It’s believed he was radicalised while serving a 20-year jail sentence for attempting to kill two officers in 2001, before his release last year.
In February, the terrorist tried to obtain weapons and made threats to kill police officers, but was let go in early March due to lack of evidence.
The Guardian reported that Cheurfi “served nearly 15 years in prison after being convicted of three attempted murders, two against police officers, and was released on parole in 2015.”
A note declaring allegiance to the Islamic State was discovered near the shooting and is being investigated by police for possible links to Cheurfi and to other ISIS terrorists.
The French police officer killed in the attack was 37-year-old Xavier Jugelé. According to The Telegraph, Jugelé had responded to an ISIS attack on Paris in November 2015. His life was ended by a shot in the head delivered by Cheurfi.
The Telegraph reported that Jugelé had attended a commemorative event for the attack at Bataclan. Those attackers used guns and suicide vests to kill 90 people at the nightclub:
“We’re here tonight as witnesses,” Mr Jugelé told People magazine. “Here to defend our civic values. This concert’s to celebrate life. To say no to terrorists.”
Leading French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, ahead of a national election, said of the terrorist attack:
“This imponderable threat, this threat, will be a fact of daily life in the coming years.”
U.S. President Donald Trump said that the fatal police shooting will have “a big effect” on the French national election.
Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2017
European politics has been marked by the rise of right-wing parties, fueled by popular dissatisfaction with mass immigration and police effectiveness fighting international terror attacks. The French presidential election will be held from April 23 until May 7.