Minggu, 08 April 2012

Wonder if there is any connection between the current string of shootings and the last one ?


Hundreds of police deployed in wake of Paris murders

The killing of a 47-year-old woman south of Paris on Thursday and three similar murders in the same area since late November has raised fears a serial killer is on the loose, prompting the deployment of hundreds of more police to Paris suburbs.

By FRANCE 2 (video)
News Wires (text)
AFP - Hundreds of extra police were drafted into the Paris suburbs Saturday where four murders have been carried out with the same weapon since November, raising fears a serial killer is on the loose.
"The main aim is to check suspicious behaviour," top local official Michel Fuzeau told AFP, saying police would carry out "vehicle checks and identity checks" and respond to any alarms raised by the local population.
He said "several hundred" officers had been mobilised.
The massive boost to the police presence in Essonne came after the latest killing on Thursday of a 47-year-old woman on a working-class housing estate in Grigny, south of the capital.
Around 100 investigators are probing the murders, carried out between November 27 and April 5, within a 10-kilometre (six-mile) radius, of apparently innocent victims, two men and two women, with no known links between them.
All the victims were shot with the same small-calibre semi-automatic 7.65 weapon.
While nothing suggested any political or religious motive for the killings, investigators have not ruled out any hypothesis. They believe it could be the work of a serial killer or a hired hitman, working for one or several persons. The gunman or gunmen could be acting alone, or have accomplices.
Local prosecutor Marie-Suzanne Le Queau told journalists Friday: "The way of killing is not identical in all four cases."
"In the first case, the victim was shot in the body several times while in the other three cases we have deaths caused by a single shot to the head," she said.
The first victim was a 35-year-old laboratory assistant. also shot dead in her building in Grigny, on November 27.
A disabled, unemployed man who said he was her ex-boyfriend turned himself in, was arrested and charged, but has since retracted his confession.
On February 22, one of the first victim's neighbours, a 52-year-old man, was shot dead in their building's car park.
Then, on March 19, an 81-year-old man was killed by a shot to the head in the entrance to a similar block of flats in Grigny's neighbouring suburb of Ris-Orangis.
"No link has been made between the four victims except for the fact that the second lived in the same building as the first," Le Queau said.
Last month, the southern city of Toulouse was shocked by a string of seven killings by Mohamed Merah, a 23-year-old Frenchman from an Algerian family who declared himself to be a supporter of the Al-Qaeda militant network.
Merah killed three off-duty paratroopers, three Jewish schoolchildren and a trainee rabbi before he was cornered in his apartment and killed in a shootout with police.



Algerian lawyer says Merah claimed innocence to police

Algerian lawyer says Merah claimed innocence to police

Algerian lawyer Zahia Mokhtari (pictured) claimed on Monday that alleged "Toulouse shooter" Mohamed Merah told police he was innocent before he was killed. Officials say that Merah admitted to the murders of seven people before his death.

By News Wires (text)
AP - An Algerian lawyer said Monday that she has evidence that the young man accused of killing seven people in attacks on French soldiers and a Jewish school claimed his innocence to police.
Mohamed Merah, 23, was killed after a more than 30-hour standoff with authorities, who have said that during negotiations he confessed to the killing spree in southwestern France and refused to surrender peacefully.
But Zahia Mokhtari, a lawyer for Merah’s Algerian father, told BFM television on Monday that she had two identical videos of Merah that contradict the police narrative.

“In these videos, he says, ‘I am innocent. Why are you killing me? I didn’t do anything,”” she said.
Mokhtari would not detail how she got the videos, saying she would reveal more on their origin once she files a lawsuit in French courts against the elite police force, RAID, that killed Merah.
A police official with knowledge of the investigation cast doubt on her claims Monday, noting that Merah led police to evidence that proved he was the perpetrator.
Prosecutors say Merah spoke at length with negotiators from the RAID force throughout the long standoff last month while he was holed up in a Toulouse apartment.
During these conversations, authorities say, Merah told them where to find a video he took of the crime spree. Al-Jazeera television has said it received a copy of the video, which shows the deaths of three paratroopers, three Jewish children and a rabbi from the killer’s point of view.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of police rules, added that Merah had toyed with police during the standoff, initially agreeing to surrender but later vowing to “die with his weapons in his hands.”
Police have said that Merah said he had links to al-Qaida but have cast doubt on that claim. They are holding his brother on suspicion he helped to prepare the attacks and are looking for a possible third man who may also have been involved.
The killings have left France reeling, reviving worries about Islamist extremism and shaking up the French presidential campaign.

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