PARIS — A French man suspected of killing three Kurds in Paris has confessed to a “pathological” hatred of foreigners, Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said on Sunday.
The 69-year-old was released from custody on Saturday for health reasons and taken to a police psychiatric facility.
Beccuau said in a statement the suspect was “depressed” and “suicidal” and “wanted to kill foreigners” after a robbery at his home in 2016.
The shots fired at a Kurdish cultural center and a nearby hair salon on Friday sparked panic in the city’s busy 10th district, which is home to several shops and restaurants and a large Kurdish population.
Three others were injured in the attack.
The suspect said he initially wanted to kill people in the northern Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, which is home to many immigrants, before deciding to go to the 10th arrondissement instead.
The shooting revived the trauma of three unsolved killings of Kurds in 2013 that many blame Turkey for.
Many in the Kurdish community have expressed anger at the French security services, saying they did too little to stop the shooting.
Frustration boiled over on Saturday and angry protesters clashed with police in central Paris for the second straight day after a tribute rally.
The capital’s police chief, Laurent Nunez, told BFM television on Saturday that 31 officers and one protester were injured in the riots and 11 people were arrested, “mainly for vandalism”.
The suspect – dubbed William M. by French media – is a gun enthusiast with a history of gun offenses who was released on bail earlier this month.
The retired train driver was convicted of armed violence by a court in Seine-Saint-Denis in 2016 but appealed.
A year later he was convicted of illegal gun possession.
Last year he was charged with racist violence after he allegedly stabbed migrants and slashed their tents with a sword in a park in east Paris.
‘He’s an idiot’
“He’s crazy, he’s an idiot,” his father was quoted as saying by TV station M6.
Often cited as the world’s largest stateless people, the Kurds are a Muslim ethnic group scattered across Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran.
Meanwhile, a senior adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed street riots that gripped Paris after the killing of banned PKK militants.
“This is the PKK in France,” Erdogan’s foreign policy adviser Ibrahim Kalin tweeted, posting images of overturned and burning cars in Paris.
“The same terrorist organization you support in Syria,” he wrote, in an apparent reference to the YPG.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is labeled a terrorist organization by Turkey and its western allies.
Ankara has clashed with the United States and European powers over their support for Kurdish fighters in the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, which is said to be the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.
The YPG played a central role in the US-led campaign against jihadists from the Islamic State group in Syria. It is not proscribed as a terrorist organization by either the United States or the European Union – an issue of constant tension in its relations with NATO member Turkey.
“The same PKK that has killed thousands of Turks, Kurds and security forces over the past 40 years. Now they are burning down the streets of Paris. Will you still remain silent?” Kalin wrote.
Some of the people who joined the ensuing protests chanted slogans mentioning the PKK. — Agence France-Presse