Three police officers shot dead in central France

Three police officers are shot dead in France while rescuing a woman from a ‘domestic violence incident’: Gunman is now surrounded by armed officers

  • Three police were killed and a fourth wounded early on Wednesday morning
  • 48-year-old man started shooting and set fire to the house when police arrived 
  • Woman sought refuge on roof of the house and was rescued safely by police 

Three French police officers were shot dead and a fourth wounded today when a man opened fire as they arrived at a house in a remote village.

The four gendarmes came under attack on an early-morning mission to rescue a woman who was said to be a victim of domestic violence. 

Cyrille Morel, 21, was killed in an initial shootout before Arno Mavel, 45, and Remi Dupuis, 37, were also shot dead as they approached the house in response. 

The fourth officer was seriously injured in the thigh, but his life is not thought to be in danger, while the 48-year-old gunman also set fire to the house.  

The woman, who was the reported victim of domestic violence, sought refuge on the roof of the house and was rescued safely by police. 

The prefecture of Puy-de-Dome said the situation was still developing, with at least seven tactical police officers still on the scene.   

Three police officers were killed near the town of Saint-Just in the Puy-de-Dome area of France

The gunman is said to be known to authorities for charges relating to child custody issues. 

‘The greatest precautions are being taken with regard to the dangerousness of the individual,’ a source close to the investigation said. 

Mayor Francois Chautard of the nearby town of Saint Just, around 100 miles west of Lyon, said police had been called in because of a domestic violence report. 

When they arrived, they exchanged fire with the man in ‘circumstances which are yet to be clarified,’ a statement from the interior ministry said. 

The gendarmerie’s elite tactical unit arrived at around 2.30am to investigate the shooting and bring the gunman under control, officials said. 

Firefighters were also on site attempting to control the blaze. 

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin said the gendarmerie had ‘lost three of its family members, who were moved by service to France’. 

‘The nation bows before their courage and commitment. I offer my condolences to their families and their friends,’ he said.