Attack at the Paris Police Prefecture: the motives of the assailant at the heart of the investigation

General News
Perimeter of security around the Prefecture of police of Paris on October 3rd, 2019, after the attack having made four deaths among which three policemen.

In the aftermath of the attack that killed four people Thursday 3rd October 2019 at the police headquarters in Paris, investigators work on the motivations of the attacker

The investigators seek, Friday, October 4, 2019, to clarify the motivations that led an administrative officer of the Paris Police Prefecture (PP) to kill the day before stabbing four officials in the heart of the nerve centre of the Paris police. His wife, in police custody, told the police that her husband had “heard the voice of God” in the night before the attack.

“Uncommon and agitated” behaviour

In custody since Thursday, the wife of the assailant spoke before the investigators of the Criminal Brigade “unusual and agitated behaviour” of her husband, Michael H., the day before his passage to the act, said a source close to the file.

The raids carried out Thursday at the couple’s home in Gonesse (Val-d’Oise) have also not revealed any evidence to support the hypothesis of a violent radicalization of this computer scientist 45 years converted to Islam for 18 months and in post since 2003 at the PP where he was assigned to the technical service of the Intelligence Directorate of the Prefecture of Police (DRPP), said this source.

A time evoked, the hypothesis of professional conflict is not privileged and all the tracks remained under study including that of a jihadist radicalization. The computer equipment seized was still being examined on Friday.

No terrorist qualification selected

The investigation was opened by the Paris prosecutor’s office for counts of voluntary homicide without a terrorist qualification being retained at this stage. The national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office, however, continues to follow the case very closely.

Investigators urge caution on motivations that may explain the deadly course of this deaf employee who “never had behavioural difficulties” or “any sign of alarm,” according to the Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner.

Friday morning, in front of the building of the PP on the island of the City, the agents of the prefecture were visibly marked, head down, closed face. “We are very shaken, we did not expect it here,” said a coworker who works with a woman injured in this unprecedented attack.

“Real drama”

In the aftermath of this attack portrayed as a “real tragedy” by President Emmanuel Macron, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and Secretary of State Laurent Nuñez went in the morning to the Percy Military Hospital to meet the Human Resources official injured.

They will then attend mid-morning at the Prefecture of Police at a time of recollection, before meeting the staff.

The DRPP, to which the assailant was attached, is the heiress of the ex-general information of the Prefecture of Paris. It has jurisdiction over the capital and its suburbs and its mission includes the collection of domestic intelligence on jihadist radicalization and the fight against illegal immigration.

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