Europe

Paris shooting: Witnesses recount panic and horror

People hurry away from the scene of the Champs-Elysses shooting, Paris, 20 April 2017 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Members of the public hurried away from the area after the shooting

Terrified eyewitnesses in Paris have recounted scenes of panic as they ran for cover when a gunman opened fire on police officers on the Champs Elysees - one of the city's best-known avenues.

Ines said she heard shots and then saw a man's body on the ground.

"People were crying and everyone was running around," she told France's BFMTV.

Another witness, Chelloug, told Reuters: "There was a police van and the guy came in an Audi A80, an old grey Audi.

In pictures: Attack on police in Paris

"He parked just behind the van and he got out with a Kalashnikov, and I heard six gunshots. I thought they were firecrackers, because we all looked around the road and there was no-one.

"In fact, he was hidden behind the van and shooting at the police. I think he hit a policeman. As soon as the policeman opened the door of the van, he fell, I think.

"As soon as we saw that, we all ran back inside the Alain Affelou shop. We hid and I went up to the first floor and we saw them (police officers) shoot him (the gunman).

"It was a terrorist. He came out with a Kalashnikov and started shooting, but he could've shot us on the pavement and killed more people with a spray of shots - but he targeted the policemen, and fortunately there were the policemen who killed him."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Two women comfort each other after the shooting

Meanwhile, French journalist and TV presenter Julien Courbet said he was in a nearby restaurant when the shooting began.

He tweeted (in French) that he "never experienced such a scene of panic", adding that all the tables inside were overturned as customers ran for cover and lights were turned off.

Mr Courbet later confirmed that he had arrived safely home and thanked his followers for their messages of support.

Choukri Chouanine, manager of a restaurant near the site of the shooting, told the AFP news agency that "we had to hid our customers in the basement", saying there was "lots of gunfire".

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