French Gunman Dies in Leap From Window

Mohamed Merah dead after 32-hour standoff
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2012 6:37 AM CDT
Updated Mar 22, 2012 7:58 AM CDT
This undated and unlocated frame grab provided March 21, 2012, by French TV station France 2 shows the suspect in the killing of 3 paratroopers, 3 children and a rabbi in recent days, Mohamed Merah.   (AP Photo/France 2)

(Newser) – After a standoff of more than 32 hours, French shooting-spree suspect Mohamed Merah is dead, the AP reports. A police official confirms that Merah's death was announced today on police radio after five minutes of gunfire were heard; the French interior minister says Merah died after police entered his apartment and he shot at them, then jumped out the window with his weapon in his hand. Sky News reports that Merah was shooting "wildly" at officers as he jumped; at least two were injured in the standoff.

The 24-year-old, who claimed to be linked to al-Qaeda, is suspected in three attacks in Toulouse that killed seven people: a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school as well as three paratroopers. President Nicolas Sarkozy's handling of the tragedy appears to be working in his favor: He's now in the lead in election opinion polling; not long ago, rival Francois Hollande was beating him handily, Sky News adds.

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