French police officers patrol in the streets front of flowers to pay respects of the victims following an attack killing three persons and wounding at least 13, in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

French police try to catch attack suspect dead or alive

Local authorities increase death toll to three, including 13 wounded and five in serious condition

French security forces were trying to catch the suspected Strasbourg gunman dead or alive, an official said Thursday, two days after an attack near the city’s Christmas market.

Local authorities, meanwhile, increased the death toll to three. The attack wounded 13 others, including five in serious condition, the prefecture of the Strasbourg region said.

RELATED: France shooting – 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

More than 700 officers were involved in the manhunt for 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt, who had been flagged for extremism, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told CNews television.

Prosecutors have opened a terror investigation into Tuesday’s attack.

Police have distributed a photo of Chekatt, who was wounded in an exchange of fire with security forces, with the warning: “Individual dangerous, above all do not intervene.”

The government raised the terror alert level nationwide and deployed 1,800 additional soldiers across France to help patrol streets and secure crowded events.

Griveaux also called on the “yellow vest” protesters not to take to the streets, as some members of the movement have planned a fifth round of demonstrations on Saturday across France to demand tax relief.

Strasbourg was in mourning, with candles lit and flowers left at the site of the attack. The Christmas market was closed at least through Thursday, authorities said.

RELATED: Suspected gunman named, had long police record

On Wednesday evening, people prayed and sang in the nearby Protestant Church Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune.

Pastor Philippe Eber said this is a moment “to think of those who died in this city because of violence. We also are thinking about all of those who weep for them, the families.”

Strasbourg resident Tassia Konstantinidis said “it’s important to have a period of mourning and to remember the victims.”

The dead included a Thai tourist, 45-year-old Anupong Suebsamarn, according to the Thai Foreign Ministry.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said one Italian was among the wounded, in critical condition. The Europhonica radio consortium said Antonio Megalizzi, 28, was in Strasbourg to follow the session of the European Parliament.

French authorities said that the suspect, born in Strasbourg, had run-ins with police starting at age 10 and his first conviction was at age 13.

Chekatt had been convicted 27 times, mostly in France but also in Switzerland and Germany, for crimes including armed robbery. He had been flagged for extremism and was on a watch list.

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

VIJHL season could start Oct. 1, says league president

League awaiting final approval from local health authorities and viaSport

First fall storm approaching Campbell River

The area is under a special weather statement for expected wind and rain

RCMP investigation underway under Tamarac Street

Campbell River RCMP is conducting an investigation under Tamarac Street in Campbell… Continue reading

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Most Read