No information yet as to the identity of the shooter, who is still at large. A Greek Orthodox priest was shot Saturday while he was closing his church in the French city of Lyon, and authorities locked down part of the city to hunt for the assailant, authorities said.
Global News (h/t Larry A) The priest, a Greek citizen, is in a local hospital with life-threatening injuries after being shot twice in the abdomen, a police official told The Associated Press. The attacker was alone and fired from a hunting rifle, said the official, who was not authorized to be publicly named.
Police cordoned off the largely residential neighbourhood around the church and warned the public on social networks to stay away. As night fell on Lyon, an Associated Press reporter saw police tape and emergency vehicles throughout the neighbourhood. National police tweeted that “a serious public security incident” was under way.
The reason for the shooting was unclear. It happened two days after an Islamic extremist knife attack at a Catholic church in the French city of Nice that killed three people, and amid ongoing geopolitical tensions caricatures mocking the Muslim Prophet Muhammad published in satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
“No theory is favoured, no theory is ruled out,” Lyon Mayor Gregory Doucet told reporters at the scene. “We don’t know at this stage the motive for this attack.”
Antoine Callot, the pastor at another Greek Orthodox church in Lyon, identified the wounded priest as Nikolas Kakavelakis, a 45-year-old father of two. Callot told The AP that the Greek Orthodox community in Lyon has not received any threats, but said he immediately asked police for security protection at his church after the shooting.
Oh, here we go: Macron is already pulling back from his initial hard-line stance on Islam:
ABC Seeking to calm tensions and to explain France’s defense of the prophet cartoons, President Emmanuel Macron gave an interview broadcast Saturday on Arabic network Al-Jazeera. Macron also tweeted that “our country has no problem with any religion. They are all practiced here freely! No stigmatization: France is committed to peace and living together in harmony.”
UPDATE! This just in. Suspect has been arrested but not yet identified:
TimesofIsrael “A person who could correspond to the description given by the initial witnesses has been placed in policy custody,” Lyon’s public prosecutor Nicolas Jacquet said in a statement, adding that the suspect had not been carrying a weapon when he was arrested.