A man was shot dead Saturday at Paris’ Orly airport after he reached for a soldier’s weapon, BFM TV reported. The airport was evacuated, the station reported, according to Reuters.
Witnesses described a chaotic scene.
A witness identified only as Dominque told BFM television: “The soldiers took aim at the man, who in turn pointed the gun he had seized at the two soldiers.”
Another man told the station that there was a group of three soldiers targeted, and they tried to calm the man who seized the weapon. Then the man said he heard two gunshots. Another witness, identified as Patrick, said he was at the check-in counter when he saw someone come in from outside and the incident began.
A French journalist on a flight that landed from Nice told France-Info radio passengers are being kept on the plane and aren’t being allowed to disembark.
A national police official said the incident occurred Saturday morning at Orly, and the soldier is part of the Sentinel special force installed around France to protect sensitive sites after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks.
No information about the slain man or any other injuries was officially released. A police source told Reuters that the man killed was a known radicalized Muslim who was on a security watch list. The man reportedly successfully took the weapon, but was shot dead by a soldier.
Police evacuated part of the airport and warned visitors in a tweet to avoid the airport while the police operation was underway.
Emergency vehicles surrounded the airport as confused passengers gathered in parking lots, and the elite RAID special police force worked to secure the airport.
An airport authority official says flights to and from Orly are being redirected to Charles de Gaulle airport.
Paris police are investigating whether an attack on a soldier at Orly Airport is linked to a shooting earlier Saturday north of Paris.
The shooting came after a similar incident last month at the Louvre Museum. France remains under a state of emergency. Saturday’s attack further rattled France, which remains under a state of emergency after attacks over the past two years that have killed 235 people.