Three police officers have been shot dead and a fourth wounded in Puy-de-Dome in central France, according to France’s Gendarmerie National Police Force.
The officers, who were responding to a domestic violence call, were shot by a 48-year-old man as they attempted to rescue a woman.
The three officers were aged 21, 37 and 45 years old, the ministry said in a statement.
The attacker allegedly shot at police when they arrived at the location and then set fire to the house.
The woman, who was reported as a victim of domestic violence, is safe.
3 gendarmes shot dead
one hospitalized in non-terrorist incident
began as a domestic violence situation over child custody
where suspect also burned down house
suspect's condition unknown but at last news was still on the run
— @WaliColt2020 (@walicolt2020) December 23, 2020
A search was under way on Wednesday for the suspected gunman and police reinforcements had been dispatched to seal off the area, the interior ministry said.
“Everything is being done to apprehend the individual and protect the population in the area,” the ministry said in a statement.
France’s BFMTV broadcaster reported the suspect was still armed.
French officials made no mention of any suspected militant motive behind the incident.
The woman had sought refuge on the roof of the house and was rescued safely by police.
The house was destroyed by the fire, BFMTV reported.
“This is a gendarme operation which is related to domestic violence, which has seen some developments that are still in progress,” a representative of the regional prefect’s office told Reuters.
The interior ministry said the fourth officer, who was wounded, did not have life-threatening injuries.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin paid tribute to the officers who were killed.
“The nation bows down before their courage and commitment,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Everything is being done to find the person responsible for these acts.”