Paris shooting suspect identified as Abdelhakim Dekhar, former prisoner

Suspect in Paris shootings wrote ramblings letters about a 'fascist plot'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 November, 2013, 9:08pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 November, 2013, 3:10am


The suspect arrested over this week's shootings in Paris was previously jailed for his role in a "Bonnie-and-Clyde" style multiple murder and left rambling letters denouncing conspiracies and media manipulation, French officials said yesterday.

Abdelhakim Dekhar, 48, was arrested on Wednesday after a major manhunt following a shooting at the left-wing newspaper Liberation, that left an assistant photographer seriously hurt, and another at the headquarters of the Societe Generale bank.

His DNA matched samples from the scenes of the attacks, officials said.

"All the evidence today points to his involvement" in the attacks, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said.

A 32-year-old man who housed Dekhar led investigators to him. The two men first met 13 years ago in London, where Dekhar lived for several years, Paris prosecutor Frederic Molins told a news conference.

Dekhar was convicted in 1998 of buying a gun used in an October 1994 shooting attack by student Florence Rey and her lover Audry Maupin, who were compared by investigators at the time to the infamous American outlaws Bonnie and Clyde.

Three policemen, a taxi driver and Maupin himself were killed in a case that captivated France.

Dekhar was arrested Wednesday evening in a vehicle in an underground parking lot in the northwestern Paris suburb of Bois-Colombes, after apparently trying to commit suicide.

Valls said that "everything appears to point to a suicide attempt", and sources said Dekhar was semi-conscious when he was found.

The head of the Paris criminal police department, Christian Flaesch, said he was in custody in a "medical environment" and was not in a fit state to speak to investigators.

Valls said investigators would need more information to be able to understand his motives, adding that "one or two letters" had been found. Investigators said the letters were "confused" and sought to explain his actions.

In a press conference, Paris prosecutor Molins said the letters spoke of a "fascist plot," touched on "how suburbs are run" and accused the media of participating in the "manipulation of the masses".

The shooter opened fire with a 12-gauge shotgun at the offices of Liberation early on Monday, hitting a 23-year-old photographer's assistant as he hauled gear in the lobby, then firing another blast that hit the roof before leaving within seconds.

He then crossed the city to the La Defense business district on its western edge, where he fired several shots outside the main office of the Societe Generale bank, hitting no one.

Police said Dekhar was the same man who last Friday stormed into the Paris headquarters of TV news channel, BFMTV, threatening staff with a gun.