BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: Europe
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 09:45 GMT
Eight dead in Paris shooting
The gunman is led away
The gunman is led away (Picture: La Chaine Info)
A man has been arrested after he shot dead eight people with an automatic weapon in a western Paris suburb.

Many officials reacted with great courage to overpower the lunatic

Prime Minister Lionel Jospin
About 30 more were injured - 14 of them seriously - during the attack, which took place at about 0115 local time (0015 GMT) after a late-night council meeting in Nanterre town hall.

The gunman, 33-year-old Richard Durn, is reported to be an ecologist and a Green Party activist.

Distraught family members have been arriving at the town hall to identify the bodies.


The gunman's motive remains unclear, but the BBC's Paris correspondent James Coomarasamy says the attack was clearly prepared in advance.

He says the man was known to have psychological problems.

Local Mayor Jacqueline Fraysse, who was leading the meeting, said it was ending quietly when the man opened fire.

"A man got up. He had been sitting in the public area. He shot straight in front of him, and then he moved to where the council members were sitting."

"He said nothing," she said. "It was long. It lasted many minutes."

'He kept firing'

Witnesses said the man calmly reloaded his automatic pistol five times, before pulling out a .357 magnum handgun which he fired at those trying to overpower him.

I am deeply concerned by this act of murderous folly

President Jacques Chirac

One official, who asked not to be identified, said someone threw a chair at the attacker and another councillor tried to wrestle him down, "but he kept firing".

"It was a real nightmare, I saw everyone around me crumpling to the ground," he said.

"He was very calm, he didn't look like a crazy person at all."

Police said most of those killed were elected councillors of Nanterre.


Helicopter leaving the scene
Helicopters took the injured to hospital
Crime is the number one issue in France's forthcoming presidential election, and the two main candidates, Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and incumbent President Jacques Chirac rushed to the scene.

Mr Jospin described the killings as a "a terrible tragedy".

"Many officials reacted with great courage to overpower the lunatic," he said.

Mr Chirac, who arrived shortly afterwards, denounced the shootings as an "act of murderous folly".

There is a general feeling in France that crime is on the increase.

Last October, a masked gunman killed four people in the central French city of Tours.

The BBC's Jon Sopel in Nanterre
"No one can explain why this happened"
See also:

27 Mar 02 | Europe
Witnesses describe calm killer
27 Mar 02 | Europe
In pictures: Paris shooting
29 Oct 01 | Europe
French rail worker in gun rampage
08 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: France
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories