French school shooting: A serial killer of Jews and Arabs (+video)?
The fatal shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, on Monday is the third motorcycle killing in France in a week. Four French paratroopers, reportedly of Arab origin, were shot last week.
A motorcycle gunman opened fire Monday in front of a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse, killing a rabbi, his two small sons and one other child, the prosecutor's office said.Skip to next paragraph
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It was at least the third motorcycle killing in France in a week, shocking the country and prompting strong emotions and high-level discussions in Israel. French prosecutors were studying possible terrorist links, but the motive for Monday's attack was unclear.
Concerns about a serial killer emerged, as investigators examined whether Monday's shooting was linked to two deadly shooting attacks in the Toulouse region last week that killed three French paratroopers and left another seriously injured. French media reported those paratroopers were of Arab origin.
President Nicolas Sarkozy rushed to the school, ordering increased security at Jewish and Muslim buildings around Toulouse, while his prime minister ordered officials to "secure" all school and religious buildings in France.
A 30-year-old man and his 3-year-old and 6-year-old sons were killed in Monday's attack, just before classes started at the Ozar Hatorah school, a junior high and high school in a quiet residential neighborhood, Toulouse Prosecutor Michel Valet said. Witnesses said the man worked at the school.
Valet said another child, between 8 and 10 years old, was also killed, and a 17-year-old was seriously injured.
"He shot at everything he had in front of him, children and adults," he said. "The children were chased inside the school."
Sarkozy denounced "the savagery" of Monday's attack on a school, and vowed to find the killer or killers. "We will find him," he said.
Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told The Associated Press that the suspect in Monday's school shootings made his getaway on a dark-colored scooter — just as the assailant or assailants did in the two shootings last week.
The school targeted Monday, behind a high white wall with few external markings, was cordoned off by police, who then escorted other children out as forensics police combed the scene.
One officer held a distraught girl, her face in her hands. A mother and son wearing a yarmulke walked away from the site, their faces visibly pained. A video camera was visible at the school's entrance.
"The drama occurred a bit before 8 a.m. A man arrived in front of the school on a motorcycle or scooter," Valet said, adding that the man got off his scooter outside the school and opened fire.
The prosecutor said the suspect probably used two weapons, including one of a large caliber.