Three law enforcement officials shot lifeless in central France

By Caroline Pailliez and Sudip Kar-Gupta

PARIS (Reuters) – Three French police officers were shot dead when a man opened fire on them when they arrived at a house in a remote village in response to a domestic violence phone call against a woman, police said on Wednesday.

The interior ministry said the suspected shooter was being searched and police reinforcements were deployed to cordon off the area. The French BFMTV broadcaster reported that the suspect was still armed.

“Everything is being done to record the individual and protect the population in the region,” the ministry said in a statement.

French officials did not mention any suspected militant motive for the incident.

The incident began when a group of gendarme police officers arrived at a house in a small hamlet near the town of Saint-Just in the early hours of the morning after receiving a call about domestic violence.

When the police arrived, a man started shooting at them and set the house on fire, according to BFMTV.

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

“This is a domestic violence-related gendarme operation and some developments are still underway,” a representative from the regional prefect’s office told Reuters.

The Home Office said the three gendarme officers killed in the incident were 21, 37 and 45 years old. A fourth wounded officer did not suffer any life-threatening injuries, the ministry said in a statement.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin paid tribute to the officers killed. “The nation bows to their courage and commitment,” he wrote on Twitter. “Everything is done to find the person responsible for these actions.”

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