French Police in Montauban, a town near Toulouse in southern France were forced to open fire on a suspect Sunday afternoon as he ran through the town with a knife, stabbing bystanders.
Reports in French media indicate the now 32-year-old arrested man, who was hit by two of four rounds fired by officers, “caused panic in the streets” by driving his Volkswagen Golf car at high speeds around the ring-road and then through the streets before disembarking and attacking people with a knife, reports magazine l’Express.
One bystander was injured in the shoulder with the knife during the rampage, reports local newspaper La Depeche, whose reporter on the ground Pacôme Bécot has been live-tweeting events, revealing that police have opened an investigation for attempted murder. The injured party is not in serious condition but has been admitted to Montauban hospital after the attack which took place around 14:30 Sunday.
— Tonight Montauban (@TMontauban) February 19, 2017
Another couple were assaulted by the man before he was stopped by police according to reports and were knocked to the ground, but avoided injury.
Although the motives for the attack are unknown, authorities have been quick to point out that they have dismissed the possibility of terrorism as a cause, reports conservative French paper Le Figaro.
The suspect, who is a native of the French former colony, now overseas department of Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean has been reported to have “Psychological Problems”, is “unbalanced”, and has been admitted to hospital in the past.
Despite the denial of a terrorist link and claim of mental illness as a possible cause, the use of a high-speed vehicle followed up by a knife attack is at least superficially similar to terror attacks elsewhere in Europe. One such was a terror rampage through Graz, Austria, which left four dead including a four-year-old boy.
The killer, a Bosnian Muslim who was initially reported by media to be a mentally ill Christian facing family troubles drove his car at speeds of 90 miles per hour through Graz’s shopping district before getting out of his car and setting upon bystanders with a “large knife”.
This story is developing.