- The murderer is a French citizen, born on the French island of Martinique.
- Some consider his crime a personal act, and many believe he has a terrorist motive.
- The police syndicate has long been warning about the mental state of many police officers.
On Thursday, a police officer stabbed four of his fellow workers at a police station in central Paris and was eventually shot dead by police. It is unclear whether the murder by their co-worker was a terrorist act or personal. The investigation into the killer’s residential home and interrogation of his wife did not reveal his motive for killing his colleagues.
What the security officials have told the media is that he was a French citizen, born on the French island of Martinique, in the eastern Caribbean. He worked as a computer expert for the police for about five years and, according to his colleagues and neighbors, he was a calm and kind person. “There were no warning signs,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said. “This man was known inside the IT department, he worked alongside his colleagues and never presented any behavioral difficulties.”
The police union has also confirmed the attacker’s identity. What has not leaked so far is the motivation of the soft-spoken employee to kill his colleagues. All that was revealed by a Syndicate spokesman was that he had been in a fight with a woman who was chief of staff. “Paris weeps for its own this afternoon after this terrifying attack in the police headquarters. The toll is heavy, several officers lost their lives,” Paris city’s mayor Anne Hidalgo said.
Personal or terrorist motivation?
Media, news agencies and social media activists have speculated about the motivation. Some consider his crime a personal act, and many believe he has a terrorist motive. Investigators also said that he was likely to commit a crime in retaliation. The Special Prosecutor’s Office for French Terrorist Operations has yet to act, and some media have blamed it on personal motivation.
Some online posts have mentioned that the killer had converted to Islam eighteen months ago, but officials have not released information about his religion. Investigations into the killer’s residential home and interrogation of his wife, apparently, did not indicate his motive for killing his colleagues.
Criticizing the mental state of police officers
The police syndicate has long been warning about the mental state of many police officers and even held massive demonstrations on Wednesday. A number of police officers have been killed in a string of extremist Islamist gunfights for the last five years. According to a spokesman for the police union, the “yellow vests” protest movement has also exacerbated the situation and put many officers under severe stress. In a televised interview, he said that four police officers had committed suicide this year.
A police union spokesman praised the president’s and other government officials’ sympathies with the relatives of the dead, but also said that such actions were not enough and the government should take practical steps to improve the conditions of police officers. On Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron, along with the French Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, visited the scene.