French police on Friday fired teargas amid clashes with agitated protesters outside a Kurdish community center in central Paris, where a gunman earlier killed three people and injured four others.
The clashes with dozens of protesters, mostly from the Kurdish diaspora, broke out when French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin was visiting the scene of the shooting, at Kurdish Cultural Center Ahmet-Kaya on Rue d’Enghien.
The suspected attacker has been arrested. All three people killed during the shooting inside and near the center were Kurds, the center’s lawyer confirmed to CNN.
The suspect, a 69-year-old French man, was not part of any far-right groups monitored by the police, Darmanin told journalists at the scene.
“He (the suspect) clearly wanted to take it out on foreigners,” Darmanin said.
“For now no elements can allow us to know if the attack is specifically targeting Kurdish people,” he added.
Paris Prosecutor Laure Beccuau said earlier on Friday that investigators are not ruling out possible “racist motivations” behind the shooting.
“When it comes to racist motivations, of course these elements are part of the investigation that was just launched,” Beccuau said.
Police in Paris and across France have been ordered to protect Kurdish sites and Turkish diplomatic institutions following the attack, according to Darmanin.
He has also asked the French president and prime minister to allow Kurdish people who want to hold demonstrations to do so.
Friday’s shooting in the 10th arrondissement has not been designated as a terrorist incident, though all avenues are being investigated.
Paris’ anti-terror prosecutor is “evaluating” the facts, but the investigation is still being led by the city’s judicial authorities, the anti-terror prosecutor’s office told CNN Friday.
“We are evaluating the facts to know if the event should be qualified as an act of terrorism,” the prosecutor’s office said.
Following the incident, crowds gathered near the center, where people from the Kurdish diaspora were heard chanting the Kurdish phrase “Şehid Namirin,” which means: Those who are lost are never really lost but with us, according to CNN’s team on the ground.
Some people were also heard chanting “Murderer Erdogan,” in a reference to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s robust stance against Kurdish nationalism, and his policies towards Kurdish far-left militant and political groups based in Turkey and Iraq.