A suspect has been shot dead after a brutal murder on the outskirts of Paris. The victim was a teacher who had reportedly recently shown caricatures of Muhammad in class.
French police shot a man dead on Friday after he allegedly decapitated a teacher near Paris.
The suspect allegedly beheaded 47-year-old history teacher Samuel Paty at about 5 p.m. in Conflans Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris.
Officers were called to the area after reports of a suspicious man loitering near the victim’s school. They found the dead victim and saw the alleged perpetrator nearby. He was then shot dead after allegedly threatening officers.
Five suspects were arrested on Friday night, bringing the total number of people detained in connection to the killing to nine, including the grandparents, parents and 17-year-old brother of the suspected attacker.
The suspect is alleged to be an 18-year-old born in Moscow and originating from Chechnya, the predominantly Muslim Russian republic in the North Caucasus.
French President Emmanuel Macron described the incident as an “Islamist terror attack” and urged the nation to unite.
He said the victim was murdered because he was a teacher and taught freedom of expression.
“The whole country stands behind its teachers. Terrorists will not divide France, obscurantism will not win,” Macron said after visiting the scene.
Police told reporters that the victim had recently held a class on freedom of speech in which he showed caricatures of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad — a lesson that had prompted a complaint against the teacher.
The father of a 13-year-old pupil told France Inter that the teacher gave Muslim students the option of leaving the room before showing the images. The teacher was not “condesending or disrespectful,” he said.
French anti-terror prosecutors said they were treating the incident as “a murder linked to a terrorist organization” and related to a “criminal association with terrorists.”