Suspect says he had ‘pathological’ hatred for foreigners
Paris shooter to be on trial
Published: Dec 26, 2022 08:47 PM
Cordoned by French Gendarmes mobile riot unit, migrants queue to embark buses for temporary shelter during the evacuation of their makeshift camp gathering hundreds, mostly Afghan, in Paris on November 17, 2022. Photo: AFP

Aqueue to embark buses for temporary shelter  in Paris on November 17, 2022. Photo: AFP

A Frenchman suspected of killing three Kurds in a Paris shooting has confessed to a "pathological" hatred for foreigners, Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said on Sunday.

The 69-year-old man was due to appear before a judge on Monday, prosecutors said. 

The suspect spent nearly a day in a psychiatric facility before being returned to the police custody on Sunday afternoon. Beccuau said in a statement that the suspect was "depressive" and "suicidal" and he "wanted to kill foreigners" after a burglary in his home in 2016.

The shooting at a Kurdish cultural center and a nearby hairdressing salon on Friday sparked panic in the city's bustling 10th district, home to numerous shops and restaurants and a large Kurdish population.

Three others were wounded in the attack but none are in a life-threatening condition, with one now out of hospital, the prosecutor said on Sunday.

The suspect said he initially wanted to kill people in the northern Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, which has a large immigrant population.

But he changed his mind as few people were around and his clothing made it difficult for him to reload his weapon, the prosecutor said.

The shooting has revived the trauma of three unresolved murders of Kurds in 2013 that many blame on Turkey.

The frustration boiled over on Saturday and furious demonstrators clashed with police in central Paris for a second day running after a tribute rally.

The French capital's police chief Laurent Nunez told BFM television channel on Saturday that 31 officers and one protester were injured in the disturbances, while 11 people were arrested, "mainly for damage."

The suspect, named as William M. by French media, is a gun enthusiast with a history of weapons offenses who had been released on bail earlier in December. In 2021, he was charged with racist violence after allegedly stabbing migrants and slashing their tents with a sword in a park in eastern Paris.

The prosecutor said no links with an extremist ideology were found following a search of his parents' home. 

"He is mad, he is crazy," his father told AFP, describing him as quiet and reserved. He added that his son said nothing as he left his parents' home on Friday. Of the six victims of the attack, five were Turkish nationals and one was a French national.

Meanwhile, a top aide to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the street unrest that gripped Paris following the killing on outlawed PKK militants. "This is PKK in France," Erdogan's foreign policy adviser Ibrahim Kalin tweeted, posting images of overturned and burning cars in Paris.

The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey. Ankara has been feuding with the United States and European powers about their support for Kurdish fighters in the People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, which it says is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.

It is not proscribed as a terrorist group by either the United States or the European Union, an issue of constant tension in their relations with NATO member Turkey.