Three police officers are shot dead in France: Gunman ‘kills himself’ after opening fire on gendarmes rescuing a woman from a ‘domestic violence incident’
- Four gendarmes came under attack as they arrived at a house early Wednesday
- Gunman fatally wounded three and set fire to the house before being found dead
- Woman allegedly attacked in domestic violence incident was rescued from roof
Three French police officers were shot dead and a fourth wounded by a man who opened fire in a remote village today before apparently killing himself.
The four gendarmes came under attack during an early-morning mission to rescue a woman who had taken refuge on the roof of a house after an alleged domestic violence incident.
Cyrille Morel, 21, was killed in an initial shootout before Arno Mavel, 45, and Remi Dupuis, 37, were also shot dead as they approached the house in response – while the 48-year-old gunman also set fire to the house.
A fourth officer was seriously injured in the thigh, but his life is not thought to be in danger, while the woman on the roof was rescued safely by police.
Shortly before 9am local time, France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin announced that the gunman was dead. ‘He is believed to have shot himself,’ said an investigating source.
President Emmanuel Macron said that ‘the nation joins the grief of the families’, adding that ‘our forces risk their lives to protect us… they are our heroes’.
Three police officers were killed near the town of Saint-Just in the Puy-de-Dome area of France
The prefecture of Puy-de-Dome said the situation was still developing, with at least seven tactical police officers still on the scene.
The gunman was said to be known to authorities for charges relating to child custody issues, but the nature of the domestic violence allegation was not clear.
A source said two officers had initially approached the house just after midnight, with the woman ‘screaming for help’ on the roof as they arrived.
As they neared the house, gunfire broke out in ‘circumstances which are yet to be clarified,’ a statement from the interior ministry said.
The gendarmerie’s elite tactical unit arrived at around 2.30am to investigate the shooting and bring the gunman under control, officials said.
Firefighters were also on site attempting to control the blaze, while all roads leading to the house were blocked off.
Interior minister Darmanin said the gendarmerie had ‘lost three of its family members, who were moved by service to France’.
‘The nation bows before their courage and commitment. I offer my condolences to their families and their friends,’ he said.
Technically a branch of the military, the gendarmerie is mainly responsible for policing smaller towns and villages in France.
Aside from terror attacks, shootings of police officers in France are relatively rare.
Last May, a man fired at police from his house in the Gironde region of southwest France, wounding one officer. As he was about to fire again, he was shot dead by police.