French Police end Hostage Standoff at Bank, Guns Blazing

French GIPN Special Forces. Image:Fickr/billoud43 A gunman who ranted disjointedly…

French GIPN Special Forces. Image:Fickr/billoud43

A gunman who ranted disjointedly about religious motives took four employees at a bank hostage on Wednesday before French police stormed in to arrest him – a new episode of apparent lone-wolf violence to jolt a region still reeling from a terrorist shooting spree that killed seven people three months ago.

The Toulouse state prosecutor waved off French media reports indicating that the man had claimed ties to al-Qaida, pointing instead to what he called the man’s alleged history of psychiatric problems.

Authorities provided few details about the six-hour standoff, which ended after elite police stormed inside with guns blazing. A bank window bore a single bullet hole, and the bank’s glass door lay shattered on the ground. The man was hospitalized for gunshot wounds to his left hand and the left thigh – neither life-threatening.

Prosecutor Michel Valet said the man’s gun, which was used twice during the standoff, fired only rubber bullets and that he had no prior police record. Valet refused to identify the man by name or identify the religion that he was referring to in “confused” diatribes.

Read more at The Arizona Daily Star

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