A 48-year-old man has shot three gendarmes dead and wounded the fourth security officer near Puy-de-Dome in central France, as they tried to help a woman who sought getting away from the gunman and found shelter on a roof of a house, according to BFMTV.
The gendarmes were targeted by gunfire after trying to approach the house to respond to a report of domestic violence, said local French Mayor Francois Chautard.
One of them died of his injuries while the second, injured in the thigh, was transported to Ambert hospital centre.
The three officers were aged 21, 37 and 45 years old, the French Interior ministry said in a statement.
After setting fire to his house, the suspect shot once again at the gendarmes present in the vicinity of the home, claiming two victims, said the Clermont-Ferrand prosecutor's office, which specifies that the woman may have been rescued.
"At least seven members of the GIGN [National Gendarmerie Intervention Group] are on site. The greatest precautions are being taken with regard to the danger presented by the individual," according to AFP, citing a source close to the investigation.
French Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin announced on Wednesday that the attacker who shot dead three gendarmes in the central department of Puy-de-Dome was found dead.
Le forcené a été retrouvé mort.— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) December 23, 2020
Je me rends sur place. https://t.co/0459PnFM7V
Earlier, it was reported that the suspect responsible for the fatal attack was on the run.
French President Macron expressed his solidarity with French police via a tweet following death of three police officers in central France.
Ils intervenaient pour secourir une femme victime de violences conjugales dans le Puy-de-Dôme, trois gendarmes ont été tués, un quatrième blessé. La Nation s'associe à la douleur des familles. Pour nous protéger, nos forces agissent au péril de leur vie. Ce sont nos héros.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) December 23, 2020
Media also reported that the shooter, who was confirmed to be the rescued woman’s spouse, has previously been known for child custody-related issues.