Car rams police van on Champs-Elysees, armed suspect dead

Posted at 11:54 AM, Jun 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-19 11:55:49-04

Police took down an armed man after a car intentionally rammed into a police van Monday on the iconic Champs-Elysees in central Paris, authorities said.

The small white car caught on fire after the collision and the driver may be dead, France’s interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told reporters Monday afternoon. The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened an anti-terror investigation into the incident, Brandet said.

Gerard Collomb, France’s interior minister, addressed reporters, saying that the Champs-Elysees attacker’s car contained weapons and explosives. “The car contained weapons, explosives, enough to allow him to blow up this car.” Collomb also said the suspect is now dead.

About 20 police vans and several armed police surrounded a man on the ground. The incident took place at 3:40 p.m. local time (9:40 a.m. ET).

Authorities advised people to avoid the area.

A string of attacks in Paris

This is the fifth time in four months that security forces have been targeted in Paris.

— Last month, a man attacked an officer with a hammer at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, proclaiming, “This is for Syria,” French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said. The officer’s injuries were not serious.

— In April, a man shot at police officers — also on the Champs-Elysees — killing one officer and wounding two others. Police shot and killed Karim Cheurfi as he tried to escape on the busy tourist boulevard. ISIS said the man was one of its fighters, and Cheurfi had a note defending ISIS in his pocket.

— In March, a man holding a gun on a French female soldier at Orly Airport shouted, “I am here to die in the name of Allah … There will be deaths,” before two of the soldier’s comrades shot the attacker dead.

— In February, a soldier shot a machete-wielding man who rushed toward a group of soldiers and guards near the Louvre museum.