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France Hunts Gunman After Mass Shooting

'Radicalized' suspect may have fled to Germany
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2018 6:32 AM CST
In this image made from video, emergency services arrive on the scene of a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – French authorities are hunting Cherif Chekatt, the suspect believed to have killed three people in a mass shooting near a Christmas market Tuesday night. Officials say the 29-year-old suspect was wounded in a gunfight with soldiers after the Strasbourg attack but escaped. The suspect has a long criminal record and is believed to have been radicalized in prison, the BBC reports. More than 350 French police officers and soldiers are searching for Chekatt but it's not clear whether he is still in the country: According to French media, he escaped from the scene in a taxi and fled to a district near the border with Germany. Authorities say Chekatt has served time in prisons in both France and Germany and was expelled to France from the latter country in 2017.

Authorities say hours before Chekatt opened fire, authorities went to his home to arrest him in connection with an armed robbery and attempted murder, the Guardian reports. He was not at home, but explosives were found at the address and five other people were arrested. Chekatt was on a security watchlist, although deputy interior minister Laurent Nunez said no motive for the attack had been established, the Telegraph reports. "The hunt is taking place and the priority is to find this attacker," Nunez told reporters. Authorities say that eight of at least 13 people injured are in critical condition. While the search continues, protests have been banned in Strasbourg, but not in the rest of France. (Read more France stories.)

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