Anonymous police officials told the AP news agency on Wednesday that the man who carried out the shooting in Strasbourg was 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt. They added that his apartment had been searched by police just a few hours before the tragic incident in an investigation into a case of attempted murder. The suspect was reportedly already wanted for armed robbery prior to the shooting.
Addressing the case, Paris prosecutor stated that the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack. He added that, according to the driver of a taxi used by the suspect to flee the scene, the shooter was also injured.
French Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez noted, however, that the gunman could have left the country.
"This cannot be excluded, but I want to say that border controls were immediately strengthened and the area around Strasbourg was cordoned off. I cannot say anything more, because, as you understand, searches are still underway," Nunez told the France Inter radio station.
The tragedy unfolded in Strasbourg on Tuesday, when a man opened fire at a Christmas market. Initially, police reported that two people had been killed, but later the official death toll climbed to three, with 13 others wounded in the shooting. At least 4 people have been detained in the hunt for the suspect, who remains at large.
Addressing the situation, French police have raised the security level to “emergency attack” and strengthened border controls, as well as reinforced surveillance at all Christmas markets “to avoid the risk of copycat attacks”.