French police chief commits suicide after Charlie Hebdo killings

PARIS - A French police commissioner has allegedly killed himself with his police-issued gun hours after he was ordered to investigate the Charlie Hebdo magazine massacre, local media reported.

Mr Helric Fredou, 45, who was said to be suffering from depression, reportedly shot himself in his office in Limogesa, a city in central France, on the night of Jan 7, according to France 3.

He had just interviewed the family of a victim of the Charlie Hebdo shooting before his reported suicide.

Mr Fredou began his career as a police officer in 1997 and had been the deputy director of the regional police since 2012, the Daily Mail reported.

It is not known if the suicide is connected to the Charlie Hebdo killings.

Twelve people, including eight journalists and two policemen, were murdered on Jan 7 when two armed men stormed the offices of the French satirical weekly in Paris. Among those killed were the magazine's editor Stephane "Charb" Charbonnier and several veteran cartoonists.

Their attackers, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, aged 32 and 34 respectively, claimed to belong to terrorist group Al-Qaeda in Yemen. They were seeking revenge over Prophet Muhammad cartoons published by the magazine. Any depiction of the Prophet is considered blasphemous by Muslims.

The Kouachis were shot dead by French security forces two days later.

In a provocative move, Charlie Hebdo has released the front page of its latest edition to the media ahead of the magazine's publication on Jan 14. It features Prophet Muhammad crying and holding up a "Je suis Charlie" sign under the words: "All is forgiven".

Three million copies of the special "survivors' edition" are being printed and will be translated into 16 languages and made available in 25 countries, said the magazine.