Notre Dame police attacker was doctoral student

According to French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, the man had along with the hammer two knives and an identification document saying the he was a student of Algerian descent that is being checked now.

In the surveillance video provided to The Associated Press on Wednesday, the man can be seen lunging at the officers before he is shot and falls to the ground.

"His colleague reacted with sang-froid and fired to ensure the attacked officer was not further injured", Collomb said.

"Situation under control, a policeman was wounded, the perpetrator was neutralized and sent to hospital", the Paris Police Prefecture said in a statement.

Police officers install a security parameter outside Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, June, 6, 2017.

Following the incident the Paris prosecutor's office swiftly launched a counter- terrorism investigation. He also confirmed that the condition of the police officer was not serious. Trapped in Notre Dame Cathedral after police shoot a man.

Among the tourists taking shelter inside Notre Dame was Nancy Soderberg, a former White House deputy national security adviser and ambassador to the United Nations. The square in front of the cathedral was evacuated.

Notre-Dame, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris, typically attracts long lines of visitors.

Paris police say an unidentified assailant has attacked a police officer near the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the officer then shot and wounded the attacker.

"It was really scary, we had no idea if there were any accomplices inside", she said.

At least 600 people were blocked inside the iconic 12th century church, while others fled in panic from the sprawling esplanade outside as police combed the area in the center of the French capital. The interior ministry at the time said it was likely an attack had been imminent.

Police warned the public to stay away from the landmark, according to Reuters. His motives remain unclear but he seemed to be acting by himself and it didn't seem like a very well planned attack.

The police department tweeted about the operation on Tuesday afternoon but did not provide any details. Visitors and locals alike scattered as gunfire rang out in the cathedral's broad plaza alongside the River Seine in central Paris.

Since then there have been a series of smaller attacks, often targeting security forces.

  • Leroy Wright