PARIS, April 21 (KUNA) -- The man who shot dead a police officer and wounded two others Thursday night has been identified as 39-year-old Kareem Sheurfi, a French national already sentenced here to 15 years for attempted murder in 2005, media and security sources said Friday.
Sheurfi opened fire on a police vehicle parked at the upper end of the world-famous avenue, provoking panic among tourists, diners and residents in the busy district and prompting a huge police operation to search for potential accomplices.
The shooter, who was resident of the Seine and Marne district, east of Paris, had a history of violent crime and was known to security services as a potential terrorist threat and was on the "S" security monitoring list but police say they had insufficient grounds to detain him after his early release from prison.
But security sources here also said that Sheurfi was recently interrogated by police after informants reported that he was seeking to purchase weapons and he had openly declared he wanted to attack French policemen.
He was nonetheless released for lack of evidence and questions are being raised about a bungle in the investigation.
The shooter was originally sentenced to 15 years 12 years ago for attempting to murder a police cadet.
The sources here also confirmed Friday that Sheurfi appears to have acted alone in the attack in Paris on Thursday and reports of a second suspect being sought have been denied by police.
Thursday's shooting took place only three days before France goes to the polls for the first round of presidential elections April 23. (end)