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French police arrest Paris shooting suspect

Suspect found "semi-conscious" in underground parking lot after police release photograph and launch vast manhunt.

Last updated: 21 Nov 2013 18:05
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The man arrested on suspicion of carrying out the recent shootings in Paris has been named as Abdelhakim Dekhar, who was jailed in 1998 for his role in a "Bonnie-and-Cyde" style murder spree, police sources said.

Dekhar was arrested in the evening in his car on Wednesday in the parking lot of a Paris suburb, one source told Reuters. 

A second source said the suspect was thought to be under medication and not in a state to be questioned immediately, but police tested his DNA against traces found on cartridges left behind by the gunman.

Several sources said the suspect was found in a "semi-conscious state", with one saying this was "probably following the taking of medications, which may suggest an attempted suicide".

Police sources identified the suspect as Dekhar, who was sentenced to four years in jail for buying a gun used in the 1994 shooting attacks by student Florence Rey and her lover Audry Maupin in which three policemen and a taxi driver were killed, in a case that gripped France.

The mayor of Bois-Colombes, Yves Revillon, told reporters at the scene that the suspect had been taken away in an ambulance.

The gunman seriously wounded a 23-year-old photographer's assistant in the lobby of the Liberation newspaper on Monday before fleeing.

Shortly afterwards, he fired at least three shots into the lobby of the headquarters of Societe Generale in the La Defense business district, but no one was hurt.

The gunman later vanished into the crowds of Paris' Champs-Elysees boulevard after forcing a driver at gunpoint to take him there.

The photographer, who suffered wounds to the chest and stomach, was rushed to surgery and appeared to be in better condition on Wednesday.

Hospital officials told the AFP news agency he had regained consciousness and was no longer in need of an artificial respirator.

With a vast manhunt underway, Dekhar was arrested after a witness statement to police, who had on Tuesday released a new photograph of the man suspected in the attacks and received hundreds of calls from potential witnesses.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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