A 69-year old man on Monday was indicted by an investigative judge and sent to prison for killing three people during a shooting spree that targeted a Kurdish cultural centre and Kurdish businesses in Paris last week, Le Monde reported.
The judge charged the man with murder, attempted murder because of race, ethnicity, nationality or religion as well as for the unauthorised procurement and possession of a weapon, a judicial source told Agence-France Press.
The retired train conductor will be held in isolation and under close surveillance during his pre-trial detention as he expressed intent for suicide while he was under police custody.
William M., the suspected shooter, appeared before a judge after the Paris prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Monday that he would be placed under formal investigation, which means the existence of serious or consistent evidence pointing to implication of a suspect in a crime under French law.
The Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau added that authorities are also suspecting racist motives behind the attack.
While the French press still avoids using the full name of the shooter, British newspaper The Daily Mail revealed it as “William Mallet”.
The gunman has already admitted his racist motivations during police interrogation and, according to police sources talking to French media, has expressed his hatred against Kurds.
His attack last Friday left a prominent Kurdish women’s rights activist, a Kurdish musician and a Kurdish activist dead and three others, including a Frenchman, wounded.
While French authorities have so far treated the incident as a racist crime carried out single-handedly by the suspect, the Kurdish community in France and beyond insist it should be considered as a terrorist act with a possible role played by the Turkish state.
France to this day has failed to uncover the details of a similar attack in 2013 against a Kurdish information centre. Three female Kurdish activists, including one of the founders of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), were killed by a Turkish gunman with alleged links to the Turkish intelligence. The gunman died in prison in 2016, a month before the start of his trial.