PARIS — Media outlets in France today are feeling threatened after a series of gun-related incidents starting last Friday targeted a TV channel and a newspaper.
Monday morning, a gunman armed with a pump-action rifle shot a photographer’s assistant in the lobby of national newspaper Liberation’s headquarter in Paris. The 27-year-old man, who was a freelancer contributing to Liberation, a left-leaning newspaper, was taken to a hospital, where he’s in critical conditions.
The gunman, who was filmed in the lobby by surveillance cameras, fled the scene and is being tracked by French police.
Police believe he is the same gunman who threatened staff at French news channel BFM TV Friday, where he pointed a rifle toward the editor-in-chief in the hall of the headquarters, threatening that he “would be back and wouldn’t miss (him).”
The gunman left two cartridges on the floor in the hall and didn’t fire, leaving police wondering whether he intended to shoot.
Security camera images showed that both media outlets were attacked by the same individual, a European-type man aged between 30 and 40-years old wearing a cap. “France’s freedom of information is clearly being targeted which is why need to protect every press outlet,” declared France’s president Francois Hollande.
Manuel Walls, minister of the interior, has sent police guards in front of major media institutions, including Le Monde newspaper and Europe 1 radio station.
After the incident at Liberation this morning, gunshots were fired through the windows of Societe Generale bank’s headquarter in La Defense near Paris, but no one was injured. The man then reportedly held someone hostage in the neighboring suburb and forced him to drive to the Champs Elysees area.
While the investigation is still ongoing, police believes the gunman seen at Liberation and BFM is responsible for the Societe Generale assault.
France boasts strict gun laws — a hunting license or a shooting sport license is required to acquire a gun.