Two French police officers were shot dead in Paris on Thursday after a gunman opened fired on the Champs-Élysées. The popular boulevard and tourist attraction has been closed, as well as nearby Metro stations, and police are instructing people to avoid the area altogether. The suspected attacker has also been killed, but has not yet been identified.
According to a French police union, an “individual in a car opened fire at a police car stopped at a red light, killing one policeman.” CNN reports that a man emerged from the vehicle and opened fire on the police car with an “automatic weapon,” while French media reports that the shooter wielded an AK-47 rifle. The police then returned fire, killing the attacker. While one officer was fatally shot at the scene, another was initially seriously injured and reportedly later succumbed to those wounds and passed away.
A subsequent tweet sent out by the Paris Police Prefecture indicated that a police operation was still underway in the area, but provided no other details.
According to The Associated Press, French prosecutors have opened a terror investigation into the shooting, and police believe the attacker acted alone.
The shooting comes a few hours after one of the busiest roads in Paris was reportedly closed off by police while officers investigated a “suspicious package.” It also came as the French presidential candidates participated in a TV debate nearby. In just three days, the French general election will take place.