CHAPELLE-SUR-ERDRE, France – A man stabbed and seriously wounded a policewoman in the western French town of La Chapelle-sur-Erdre on Friday. He later died after an exchange of fire with officers, the national gendarmerie said.
The attacker was cornered after a manhunt that included two police helicopters and more than 200 officers.
There was a shooting when officers moved in to arrest the man, police said. He died shortly afterwards and two officers were wounded, police added. The stabbed policewoman was in critical condition, BFM TV reported.
Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin tweeted that he would be traveling to the site of the attack.
There was no immediate announcement of the attacker’s motive. The French counter-terrorism prosecutor said it was monitoring the situation but not leading the investigation for the time being.
A source close to the investigation told Reuters the suspect was released from prison in March after being convicted of violence. The prison staff said he was radicalized in prison, the source added.
The incident came a month after a police officer near Paris was stabbed to death by a Tunisian national who watched Islamic religious videos glorifying acts of jihad shortly before his attack began.
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On Friday, the attacker stole his victim’s weapon and fled into a car before an accident forced him to continue on foot, police said.
He was tracked down and surrounded in a forest near Chapelle-sur-Erdre, the regional newspaper Ouest France reported. He opened fire on officers, a police source said.
In the area north of the city of Nantes, the schools were under police protection.