French police officers stand guard in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

France shooter killed Thursday during police operation

7 more being held by police in shooting investigation

Investigators looking into the Strasbourg attack are trying to establish whether the main suspect was helped by accomplices while on the run, Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said Friday.

The prosecutor, who handles terror cases throughout France, told a news conference on Friday that seven people are in police custody, including four family members of Cherif Chekatt. The 29-year-old was shot dead on Thursday during a police operation which took place in the Neudorf neighbourhood of the city.

READ MORE: Suspected gunman named, had long police record

“We want to reconstruct the past 48 hours in order to find out whether he got some support,” Heitz said.

Chekatt was suspected of killing three people near Strasbourg’s Christmas market on Tuesday night. Heitz said that, in addition, “a fourth victim is brain dead. Among the 12 other wounded, there is one person in a life-threatening condition and four who remain hospitalized.”

After a two-day manhunt, Heitz said, on Thursday evening three officers patrolling in Neudorf spotted a man corresponding to the suspect’s description. He noticed their vehicle and tried unsuccessfully to enter a building. When police officers identified themselves, Chekatt turned around and opened fire.

“A projectile hit the vehicle above the left rear door, two police officers responded, shooting several times, and killed him,” Heitz said.

Investigators found a gun, a knife and ammunition on Chekatt’s body.

READ MORE: French police try to catch attack suspect dead or alive

The immediate aftermath of the shootout between French security forces and the suspect was caught on camera from across the street, with video footage showing armed officers at the scene and the body of the man slumped in a doorway.

More officers arrive at the scene soon after, followed by crime scene investigators.

The Paris prosecutor’s office formally identified the man as Chekatt, a Strasbourg-born man with a long history of convictions for various crimes, including robberies. Chekatt also had been on a watch list of potential extremists.

Witnesses said the gunman shouted “God is great!” in Arabic and sprayed gunfire from a security zone near the Christmas market on Tuesday. Security forces wounded the man but he managed to escape in a taxi, which dropped him off in Neudorf.

More than 700 officers searched for Chekatt, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told CNews television.

Chekatt was well-known to police, but as a common criminal, not a terrorist. He had his first conviction at 13, and had 26 more by the time he died at age 29. He served jail time in France, Germany and Switzerland.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North District RCMP see massive spike in domestic calls

Connection to COVID-19 pandemic likely for reduced call volume, increased severity

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

Feds and Chamber of Commerce team up to support businesses

PRDCC is offering weekly conference calls to business in Prince Rupert

Fire on Third Ave. in Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue crew attended the hotel

Fisheries and Oceans Canada lifts at-sea observer requirements due to COVID-19

Fisheries Management Order went into effect April 2 and will remain for 45 days

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read