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Hostage-taker identified in France kills 3, is shot dead by police

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Updated March 23, 2018 11:04 AM EDT

TREBES, France (AP) — Authorities have identified the armed suspect at the supermarket in France. The incident left three people dead and at least a dozen others injured.

France's interior ministry is describing the suspect in the supermarket shooting and hostage-taking as a 26-year-old petty criminal who was considered radicalized and under police surveillance.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb identified the suspect as Redouane Lakdim and said Lakdim killed three people on Friday.

Collomb says police shot and killed Lakdim after storming the supermarket in the town of Trebes.

Investigators think the suspect hijacked a car after leaving the nearby city of Carcassonne and one of the people in the hijacked vehicle was killed.

Collomb says Lakdim then shot at a group of police officers before hiding inside the supermarket, where two more people were killed.

He says Lakdim acted alone.

Updated March 23, 2018 10:02 AM EDT

PARIS (AP) - An armed man is dead after taking hostages in a supermarket in southern France on Friday, killing two and injuring about a dozen others, according to a French police union official.

Yves Lefebvre, secretary general of the SGP Police-FO union, said Friday that the suspect is dead after being shot by police. The suspect had earlier opened fire on officers nearby.

A spokesman with the national police service earlier told The Associated Press that the attacker was still in the supermarket but it was unclear if there were people inside with him.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said all information suggested it "seems to be a terrorist act." France has been on high alert since a string of Islamic extremist attacks in 2015 and 2016 that killed more than 200 people.

The attacker first fired six shots at police officers who were on their way back from jogging near the city of Carcassonne on Friday morning, Lefebvre said. One police officer had a shoulder injury but it was not serious, he added.

The suspect then went to a Super U supermarket in the nearby small town of Trebes, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Toulouse.

The national police spokesman, who was not authorized to be publicly named, said at the time an operation to apprehend him was underway.

Special police units were sent to the scene and local authorities blocked roads and urged residents to stay away.

The Paris prosecutor's office said earlier counterterrorism investigators were taking over the probe but did not provide details about why. Unconfirmed media reports say the assailant claimed connections to the Islamic State group.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb headed for the scene after talking with French President Emmanuel Macron, who was following the situation closely, according to a security official.

Updated March 23, 2018 09:34 AM EDT

French national police say two people have been killed and about a dozen wounded in a shooting and hostage-taking in a supermarket in southern France.

A spokesman with the national police service told The Associated Press the attacker was still in the supermarket in the town of Trebes, but it was unclear if there were people still inside with him.

The spokesman said a police operation to apprehend the assailant is still underway. The spokesman was not authorized to be publicly named.

The reason for the shooting and hostage-taking is unclear, as is the identity of the attacker.

PARIS (AP) — French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says all information suggests that the shooting inside a supermarket in southern France and the earlier shooting of a police officer "seems to be a terrorist act."

Philippe says the hostage situation is ongoing Friday inside the Super-U supermarket in the small town of Trebes. A police official earlier said that one person had been shot dead and another seriously wounded inside the supermarket.

French President Emmanuel Macron earlier Friday asked Interior Minister Gerard Collomb to go to the site of the unfolding events in southern France.

Anti-terror prosecutors have also taken over the investigation.

Yves Lefebvre, secretary general of the SGP Police-FO union, says the suspect earlier fired six shots at police officers who were on their way back from jogging near the city of Carcassonne Friday morning. One police officer was injured in the shoulder but is not in life-threatening condition, Lefebvre said.

The police officers, based in the southern city of Marseille, were on a temporary mission in Carcassonne, he said.

There are unconfirmed media reports that the assailant claimed connections to the Islamic State group.

Interior Minister spokesman Frederic Delanouvelle told The Associated Press that there is one suspect and police are trying to subdue him. He provided no details of how many people were inside the supermarket or were believed held hostage.

The French Interior Ministry said on its Twitter account Friday that police and rescue operations are the priority.

Authorities in the Aude region are warning people to avoid the area around the supermarket.

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