PARIS • A man wielding a knife stabbed and killed four officers at the police headquarters in Paris yesterday, before being shot dead.
The premises were cordoned off after the lunchtime attack in the historic centre of Paris, usually thronged with tourists, and dozens of police and emergency vehicles had converged at the scene, AFP journalists reported.
At least one metro station in the vicinity of the building, which is close to Notre-Dame Cathedral and other major tourist attractions, was closed.
Sources told AFP the attacker was shot dead by police in the courtyard of the building, where he was employed. The man worked in an administrative capacity but it was not clear what his precise work role was.
An emergency message was broadcast over loudspeakers at the courthouse next door, announcing "an attack" at the police headquarters and stating the area was "under surveillance".
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, who was due to visit Turkey later yesterday, postponed his trip to visit the scene of the attack.
"People were running everywhere, there was crying everywhere," said Mr Emery Siamandi, an interpreter who was in the building when the attack happened. "I heard a shot, I gathered it was from inside. Moments later, I saw police officers crying. They were in a panic."
Investigators suspect a workplace dispute sparked the deadliest attack on police in France in years, sources said, but there were no further details.
The Paris prosecutor was at the scene, but anti-terror agencies were not involved.
"Did he snap, or was there some other reason? It's still too early to say," said the head of the Alliance Police union.