Police officer killed, two wounded in shooting on Champs Elysees in Paris

The gunman who killed a police officer and wounded two others in the heart of Paris before being killed himself was French and had a long criminal record, NBC News reported.

French officials said gunman Karim Cheurfi, who was shot dead, was a troubled 39-year old.

Cheurfi was fatally shot trying to flee the scene of the shooting on the Champs-Elysees Thursday, in which what French President Francois Hollande has called a terrorist attack. The warrant said the man had arrived in France by train from Belgium.

The shooting comes just two days after police arrested two men in southern Marseille with weapons and explosives who were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the first-round of the presidential election on Sunday.

Thursday's attack, which was claimed by Daesh and saw the assailant shot and killed as he tried to escape.

The attacker was known to French anti-terror police, sources told AFP, and raids took place at his address in a suburb to the east of Paris.

National security is a burning issue for many in France after attacks by militant Islamists across the country have killed more than 230 people over the past two years.

The Islamic State identified him as Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki (father of Yusuf the Belgian) through its Amaq news agency. He has pledged to destroy the Islamic State group. Authorities also found a Koran in the vehicle he abandoned at the scene of the attack. "Will have a big effect on presidential election!"

There are conflicting reports about how many people were involved in the attack, however a police spokesman said there were two people, while other reports suggested the gunman was armed with a Kalashnikov.

Police searched his house, which is located in the eastern part of the city and 3 members of his family were arrested.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Trump said that while he is not explicitly endorsing Le Pen, the attack played to her strengths.

Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve quickly hit back saying Marine Le Pen was looking to exploit the Paris shooting to score "political points" and divide the people.

U.S. President Donald Trump waded into France's presidential election on Friday, tweeting that he expected the killing of a policeman in central Paris to have an impact on Sunday's vote.

The shooting has not officially been declared a terrorist act but anti-terrorist forces are leading the investigation, French President Hollande said.

Eleven candidates were appearing on a television program including front-runners: the conservative Francois Fillon, the far-right Marin Le Pen, centrist Emmanuel Macron, and socialist Benoit Hamon.

  • Arturo Norris