The victim was a teacher at a high school in the Conflans-Sainte-Honorine area, according to the French National Prosecutor’s Office. The Moscow-born alleged attacker was shot dead by police on Friday afternoon in Éragny, the same area where the victim’s body was found. Nine people have been taken for questioning in connection with the attack, including the suspect’s parents, grandfather and brother, the legal source added.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the teacher was a “victim of an Islamist attack.” Macron said at the scene of the attack that the teacher was “killed because he taught the students freedom of speech, the freedom to believe and not to believe.”
Nordine Chaouadi, a parent of one of the school’s students, told Agence France-Presse that the teacher had taken the Muslim children out of the class before showing the caricatures. “My son told me that it was just to preserve them, it was out of pure kindness, because he had to show a caricature of the Prophet of Islam and simply said to the Muslim children, ‘Go out, I do not want it.’ to hurt your feelings, ‘that’s what my son told me,’ he said.
Police have been given few other details about the attacker, the victim or the incident. The anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office, which has taken over the investigation into the attack, has not spoken publicly about a motive.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmamin said on Twitter that he “kept himself directly informed” about the situation “from the crisis room (he) had opened in cooperation with the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister.”
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer described the attack as a “despicable murder of one of its servants, a teacher,” and said his thoughts were with the victim’s family.
Friday’s attack comes as a trial continues in connection with a series of terrorist attacks in January 2015, which began with a massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices following the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.