Shootings at the office of the left-wing Libération newspaper and at the Societe Generale bank have Paris on high alert this morning. Police still aren't officially confirming that the shootings, and a reported hostage taking on the Champs-Elysees, are all connected, but it seems very likely that they are.
Law enforcement officials have said that the suspect in the newspaper shooting is the same man who fired shots at the Paris offices of a French TV station on Friday, leading police to post extra security outside media companies across the city. A single victim, a photographer's assistant shot at the Libération offices, is "fighting for his life," according to the paper. The victim has not been identified.
Police are describing the main suspect as over the age of 40, with a shaved head or very short hair. French media are circulating the following security image of the gunman:
He used what's being called a "hunting rifle" to fire two or three shots in the newspaper office, hitting the photographer's assistant and severely injuring him. French president François Hollande released a statement saying he has, "with emotion," after being informed of the incident. French police are stationed outside of media buildings in the city as the search continues for the gunman.
While French police have not yet confirmed that the suspect in all three incidents is the same man, it seems plausible at this point. Witness descriptions from each scene match the description of the man involved in the newspaper shooting. The Libération shooting happened a couple hours before the bank incident, which was followed shortly by reports of the hostage situation. The locations are all over Paris: Libération's offices are in the eastern part of the city near Place de la République, while the Societe Generale bank is in the western La Defense district. The hostage taking reportedly occurred near the bank. No one was hurt at the bank shooting.
On Friday, the same man is believed to have entered the Paris office of the French 24-hour news channel BFMTV. He unloaded several shots from a shotgun outside of the station's headquarters. While no one was hurt, the intruder reportedly threatened several members of the station's staff, saying "Next time I won't miss you."