The suspect in a shooting at a French newspaper office had lived in Britain for several years before returning to France in July, the Paris prosecutor says.
Abdelhakim Dekhar, also suspected of three other attacks, had written a “confused” letter criticising media manipulation and capitalism and including a vague reference to Syria.
Dekhar is in a suburban Paris hospital after police detained him on Wednesday night, ending a two-day nationwide manhunt. Police found him in a “semi-conscious state” after an attempt to kill himself with medication, Prosecutor Francois Molins said. The witness who turned Dekhar in said he had been staying with him and that they had met while working in a restaurant together in London 13 years ago.
The prosecutor said Dekhar was detained on suspicion of attempted murder and kidnapping in four incidents: the shooting of at photographer at daily newspaper Liberation on Monday; an incident last week at a TV network when he threatened staff with a shotgun; shots fired at the headquarters of a bank; and a driver forced to drive from a western suburb to central Paris at gunpoint.
Dekhar came to police attention in the 1994 as part of an anarchist plot to sow chaos in Paris that ended in a high-profile robbery and car chase that left three policemen, a taxi driver and one attacker dead. He was convicted as an accomplice and served four years in prison. The motive for the recent attacks remains hazy. Police found Dekhar in a parking garage after a witness came forward to say that he had been staying with her.