Three French police officers were shot dead by a man when they arrived at a home in Saint-Just, a remote village in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in central France, to respond to a domestic violence call, police said on Wednesday.
The suspected gunman has been found dead, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Twitter, without providing details.
Police reinforcements were dispatched to seal off the area, the interior ministry said. France’s BFMTV broadcaster had earlier reported the man was still armed.
French officials made no mention of the suspected gunman’s possible motive.
The incident began when a group of officers from the gendarme police force, responding to a call about domestic violence, arrived at a house in a small hamlet near the town of Saint-Just early in the morning.
When police arrived, a man starting shooting at them and then set the house on fire, according to BFMTV.
4th officer wounded
A woman who was the reported victim of the domestic violence 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 three gendarme officers killed in the incident were aged 21, 37, and 45, the ministry said in a statement. A fourth officer, who was wounded, did not have life-threatening injuries, it said.
Ils intervenaient pour secourir une femme victime de violences conjugales dans le Puy-de-Dôme, trois gendarmes ont été tués, un quatrième blessé. La Nation s’associe à la douleur des familles. Pour nous protéger, nos forces agissent au péril de leur vie. Ce sont nos héros.
Darmanin paid tribute to the officers who were killed.
“The nation bows down before their courage and commitment,” he wrote on Twitter.
President Emmanuel Macron also expressed solidarity with France’s police force.
“They are our heroes,” Macron said on Twitter.