A Frenchman suspected of killing three people in an attack on a Kurdish cultural center in Paris has been transferred to a psychiatric ward, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors said on Saturday that the 69-year-old suspect was taken from custody on the same day for health reasons and taken to a police psychiatric facility.
The shooting at the cultural center and a nearby hair salon on Friday sparked panic in the city’s bustling 10th district, which is home to several shops and restaurants as well as a large Kurdish population.
Three others were injured in the attack, which the suspect told investigators was “racist,” a source close to the case told AFP news agency.
The Paris public prosecutor said that a doctor examined the suspect’s health condition on Saturday afternoon and considered him “incompatible with the detention measure.”
The man’s custody has been suspended and he has been taken to a psychiatric police department until he appears before an investigating judge while the investigation continues, the district attorney added.
On Saturday, the Paris public prosecutor extended the suspect’s term of detention by 24 hours and filed an additional charge of “racist motives.”
He was already in custody on suspicion of murder, attempted murder, armed violence and violation of gun law.
Protests in Paris
The suspect, who has experienced racist violence in the past, initially targeted the Kurdish Cultural Center before entering a hair salon, where he was arrested.
Of the three wounded, one was treated in the intensive care unit in hospital, and two were treated for serious injuries.
According to the Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDK-F), one woman and two men were among the dead, AFP said.
The murdered woman, Emine Kara, was a leader of the Kurdish women’s movement in France, said the organization’s spokeswoman, Agit Polat. Her application for political asylum in France had been rejected.
According to CDK-F, the other victims were Abdulrahman Kizil and Mir Perwer.
Thousands of Kurds gathered on the Place de la Republique in central Paris on Saturday afternoon, where they held a minute’s silence for the three killed and those “who died for freedom.”
Police fired tear gas after clashes broke out and demonstrators threw projectiles at officers. According to AFP, at least four cars were overturned and one was burned.
The capital’s police chief, Laurent Nunez, told BFM that 31 officers and one demonstrator were injured in the riots and 11 people were arrested, “primarily for property damage.”
More than 1,000 people held a similar rally in the southern port city of Marseille, which resulted in clashes with officers, and at least two police cars were set on fire.