CBS/AP December 11, 2018, 7:06 PM 2 dead, several injured in shooting at Christmas market in Strasbourg, France
PARIS — A shooting in the French city of Strasbourg killed two people and wounded at least 11 others, authorities said. The shooting sparked a major security operation around a world-famous Christmas market on Tuesday. The gunman, who is at large, has been identified and had been flagged as a suspected extremist, officials said.
The 29-year-old suspect is a resident of Strasbourg, a law enforcement source told CBS News. His home was raided Tuesday morning regarding a previous investigation, the source said.
The Paris prosecutor, who is in charge of anti-terror probes in France, is heading to Strasbourg, according to a statement from his office. The prosecutor's office said the investigation is for murder and attempted murder in relation with a terrorist enterprise.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters that the gunman has been identified, and had a police record for common crimes. He said several of the wounded were in critical condition and that he was heading to Strasbourg. "Our security and rescue services are mobilized," Castaner said.
Local authorities tweeted for the public to "avoid the area of the police station," which is close to the city's Christmas market. Strasbourg's well-known market is set up around the city's cathedral during the Christmas period and becomes a major gathering place.
Images from the scene show police officers, police vehicles and barricades surrounding the sparkling lights of the market. Some Strasbourg residents reported on social media that they heard gunfire in some parts of the city cente
Peter Fritz, an eyewitness, told CBS News he was in the area when the shooting broke out. "I saw a person with apparently two shots into the head lying on the bridge here," he told CBS News.
"We tried to engage in resuscitation activities. After 45 minutes, we stopped the resuscitation effort because a doctor told us over the phone that it is senseless," Fritz said.
The European Parliament, which is based in Strasbourg, was on lockdown. Spokesperson Jaume Duch said that "the European Parliament has been closed and no one can leave until further notice." It wasn't immediately clear how many people were inside.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that "my thoughts are with the victims of the shooting… Strasbourg is like no other a city which is a symbol of peace and European democracy."
France has been hit by several extremist attacks, including the 2015 Paris shootings, which killed 130 people and wounded hundreds, and a truck attack in Nice that killed dozens in 2016.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe tweeted that "the situation is still underway, priority is given to security forces and rescuers."
President Emmanuel Macron has adjourned a meeting at the presidential palace on Tuesday night to be able to monitor the events, his office said.
Strasbourg, about 310 miles east of Paris, is on the border with Germany. The drama recalled a millennial terror plot on Strasbourg's Christmas market that still marks the collective memory. Ten suspected Islamic militants were convicted and sentenced to prison in December 2004 for their role in a plot to blow up the market on New Year's Eve 2000.