PARIS -- A gunman with an automatic weapon opened fire on police in Paris' Champs-Elysees shopping district Thursday night, killing one officer and wounding three people before police shot and killed him.
The Islamic State extremist group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred three days before a presidential election. Candidates canceled or rescheduled final campaign events ahead of Sunday's first-round vote.
Investigators searched a home early today in an eastern suburb of Paris believed linked to the attack. A police document obtained by The Associated Press identifies the address searched in the town of Chelles as the family home of Karim Cheurfi, a 39-year-old with a criminal record.
Police tape surrounded the neighborhood in Chelles, and worried neighbors expressed surprise at the searches. Archive reports by French newspaper Le Parisien say Cheurfi was convicted of attacking a police officer in 2001.
Authorities were trying to determine whether "one or more people" might have helped the attacker, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told reporters at the scene of the shooting.
One officer was killed and two police officers were seriously wounded when the attacker emerged from a car and used an automatic weapon to shoot at officers outside a Marks & Spencer's department store at the center of the Champs-Elysees, anti-terrorism prosecutor Francois Molins said.
A female foreign tourist also was wounded, Molins said.
In a statement from its Amaq news agency, the Islamic State gave a pseudonym for the shooter, Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, indicating that he was Belgian or had lived in Belgium. Belgian authorities said they had no information about the suspect.
The attacker had been flagged as an extremist, according to two police officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.
Brandet said officers were "deliberately" targeted, as has happened repeatedly to French security forces in recent years, including in the run-up to the 2012 election.
French President Francois Hollande said he was convinced that the circumstances of the attack in a country pointed to a terrorist act. Hollande held an emergency meeting with the prime minister Thursday night and planned to convene the defense council this morning.
U.S. President Donald Trump said the shooting "looks like another terrorist attack" and sent condolences to France.
Information for this article was contributed by Angela Charlton, Raphael Satter, Jeff Schaeffer, Nadine Achoui-Lesage and Raf Casert of The Associated Press.
A Section on 04/21/2017
Print Headline: Paris attack kills officer, hurts 3 people; gunman then slain