Paris Kurdish center shooting suspect admits to ‘pathological’ hatred of foreigners
Gun enthusiast with previous convictions for racist violence accused of killing 3; community members say French security services didn’t do enough to prevent attack
PARIS, France — A French man suspected of killing three Kurds in Paris has confessed to a “pathological” hatred for foreigners, Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said on Sunday.
The 69-year-old man was removed from custody for health reasons on Saturday and taken to a police psychiatric facility.
Beccuau said in a statement that the suspect was “depressive” and “suicidal” and said he “wanted to kill foreigners” after a robbery 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 several shops and restaurants and a large Kurdish population.
Three others were wounded in the attack.
The suspect said he initially wanted to kill people in the northern Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, which has a large immigrant population, before deciding to go to the 10th district instead.
The shooting has revived the trauma of three unresolved murders of Kurds in 2013 that many blame on Turkey.
Many in the Kurdish community have expressed anger at the French security services, saying they had done too little to prevent the shooting.
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 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 offences who had been released on bail earlier this month.
The retired train driver was convicted for armed violence in 2016 by a court in Seine-Saint-Denis, but appealed.
A year later he was convicted for illegally possessing a firearm.
Last year, he was charged with racist violence after allegedly stabbing migrants and slashing their tents with a sword in a park in eastern Paris.
‘He’s an idiot’
“He is crazy, he’s an idiot,” his father was quoted as saying by the M6 television channel.
Often described as the world’s largest people without a state, the Kurds are a Muslim ethnic group spread across Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran.
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 same terrorist organization you support in Syria,” he wrote in apparent reference to the YPG.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey and its Western allies.
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.
The YPG played a central role in the US-led campaign against Islamic State group jihadists in Syria. 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.
“The same PKK that has killed thousands of Turks, Kurds and security forces over the last 40 years. Now they are burning the streets of Paris. Will you still remain silent?” Kalin wrote.
Some of the people who joined the subsequent protests chanted slogans mentioning the PKK.