A police operation has been launched in Le Lardin-Saint-Lazare, a commune in the French region of Dordogne, after reports of an armed man on the run. According to local media, the suspect shot at police officers and fled the scene.
The Dordogne prefecture has urged residents of Le Lardin-Saint-Lazare to stay at home after gendarmes who arrived at a family dispute were attacked by a former member of the army.
“The man, a former member of the army, is armed and on the run as we speak (…) A police operation is taking place to avoid things get out of control,” the prefect of Dordogne, Frederic Perissat, said as quoted by the BFM.
According to reports, the suspect, in his thirties, showed up at his ex-girlfriend’s home and attacked her new boyfriend. The latter then managed to escape but was reportedly shot by the suspect. The gendarmes who arrived at the scene were also targeted. Two of their vehicles were damaged by the gunfire.
The police operation involves 160 soldiers and two helicopters, which flew over the village in order to locate the fugitive.
The incident comes just two days after a French policewoman was seriously wounded in a knife attack in La Chapelle-sur-Erdre near the western city of Nantes. The perpetrator, 39-year-old French citizen of Senegalese origin Ndiaga Dieye, was known to police and a diagnosed schizophrenic; he stabbed her and fled the scene. He was later injured in a shootout with police and succumbed to his injuries.
Dieye had 19 previous convictions and had spent almost half his life in prison, where he was diagnosed as schizophrenic and had become radicalised. France's Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin revealed that the suspect had been on a watch-list of potential terrorist sympathisers.