PARIS (AP) — The Paris prosecutor said investigators haven’t yet been able to identify the attacker who wounded six people with a sharp metallic hook in the French capital’s Gare du Nord train station on Wednesday before being shot and wounded by police.
The suspect attacked several people, including a police officer, during the morning rush hour “with no apparent reason at this stage,” Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said in a statement.
Beccuau said that the assailant was undergoing surgery at a hospital after being shot twice in the chest and once in the right arm. Investigators haven’t been able to interrogate him given his condition, she said.
The identification process was still ongoing because the suspect was registered under several identities in a fingerprint database based on his declarations in previous cases involving him, suggesting he could be born in Libya or Algeria, the statement said. He is about 20 years old.
The statement described his weapon as a “metallic hook from which the longer part ends in a point.”
The victims are two men, ages 36 and 41, three women ages 40, 47 and 53, and a 56-year-old police officer, Beccuau’s statement said. Only the 36-year-old man remained hospitalized on Wednesday evening with non-life-threatening injuries, it said.
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who went to the site earlier in the day, thanked police “for their effective and courageous reaction.”
“Without the extremely rapid intervention, there would surely be deaths,” he said, detailing how the suspect was neutralized within one minute of attacking his first victim.
“At 6:42, the first acts were described. At 6:43, the police used their administrative weapon after his passage of violence,” he said.
Darmanin said the attacker’s weapon was likely a homemade weapon. He said the suspect was reported not to have said anything during the assault and that investigators haven’t discovered any extremist links.
According to Beccuau’s statement, the preliminary investigation found that the suspect threw himself upon a man in front of the train station, stabbing him about 20 times.
The assailant then entered the station and attacked four civilians and a police officer, French media reports said.
Screams alerted two other police officers who intervened while the suspect was attacking the officer. The officer for France’s border guard was stabbed in the back but not seriously wounded because of a bulletproof vest, Darmanin said.
Police opened an attempted murder investigation. No specific motive has been determined by authorities. France remains jittery following a spate of deadly terror attacks since 2015.
U.N. spokesman Stéphane Dujarric, asked for Secretary-General António Guterres’ reaction to the Paris stabbings, said: “We condemn wholeheartedly this attack and call for a very swift investigation into this incident.”