Three French police officers were shot dead and a fourth wounded by an armed man who opened fire in a remote village today before apparently killing himself.
The gendarmes were attacked in Puy-de-Dome, 90 miles west of Lyon, during an early morning mission to rescue a woman who sought refuge on the roof of a burning house following an alleged domestic violence incident.
21-year-old brigadier Arno Mavel was killed in a first shootout with the 48-year-old shooter before 45-year-old Lieutenant Cyrille Morel and 37-year-old aide Rémi Dupuis were also shot as they approached the house.
A fourth officer was seriously injured in the thigh, but his wounds are not considered life threatening. Officers finally managed to save the woman unharmed.
The shooter was found dead in his car after a suicide suspicion.
Arno Mavel (left), Remi Dupuis (center) and Cyrille Morel (right) were the three gendarmes who were killed in an early morning shooting in France today
Three French police officers were shot dead overnight in the city of Puy-de-Dome when they responded to an incident involving domestic violence (photo, police in the city today).
Officers were trying to rescue a woman from the roof of a burning building in Puy-de-Dome when she came under fire with a fourth wounded man
It was later revealed that the man had been fighting with his wife for custody of a child and that friends and neighbors had complained of constant violent clashes.
President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the officers by saying, "The nation joins the griefs of families," adding that "our security forces risk their lives to protect us … they are our heroes".
Puy-de-Dome Prefecture said the situation was still developing and at least seven tactical police officers were still on the scene.
The shooter is said to have been known to authorities on custody charges, but the nature of the domestic violence allegation was not clear.
According to a source, two officers approached the house shortly after midnight and the woman was yelling for help on the roof when they arrived.
As they approached the house, gunfire broke out under "circumstances that need to be resolved," a Interior Ministry statement said.
The elite tactical gendarmerie unit arrived at around 2:30 a.m. to investigate the shooting and bring the shooter under control.
A few hours later, the man was found dead in his car, according to BFMTV.
Firefighters were also on site trying to control the fire while all roads leading to the house were closed.
French gendarmes direct traffic in the French city after the gunfire
A French police helicopter hovers in the sky over the village after the shooting
Interior Minister Darmanin said the gendarmerie had "lost three of their family members who were transferred to France on duty".
& # 39; The nation bows to their courage and commitment. I would like to express my condolences to their families and friends, ”he said.
Technically, the gendarmerie is a branch of the military and is primarily responsible for monitoring small towns and villages in France.
Her colleagues in the National Police, which mainly patrols cities and towns, said that "all of our thoughts are with the relatives and friends of the victims".
Aside from terrorist attacks, shootings of police officers are relatively rare in France.
Last May, a man from his home in the Gironde region of southwest France shot at police and injured an officer. When he tried to shoot again, the police shot him.
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