Paris police hunt gunman after Liberation attack

A handout photo from Paris prosecutors of a man suspected of gun attacks in Paris Paris's police prefecture handed out a picture of the suspected gunman in the Concorde metro station

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Hundreds of French police are searching for a gunman who attacked the Paris head offices of a newspaper and a bank, critically wounding a photographer.

Images of the man - white, aged 35 to 45, about 1.75m tall (5ft 8in), with stubble and greying hair - have been found on CCTV and issued by police.

The man disappeared after taking a motorist hostage and forcing him to drive to the Avenue des Champs Elysees.

Investigators have reportedly received hundreds of calls from the public.

The AFP news agency quoted a source close to the investigation saying the information "must obviously be verified, and this will take time, but it allows us to move forward".

Footage of the suspected gunman at the offices of BFMTV on Friday

Officers on foot and in patrol cars were obvious in high-profile parts of the city on Tuesday morning, along the Champs Elysees, outside media offices and metro train stations.

Gun jammed

The offices of major media organisations in Paris were placed under police protection after the attack on the Liberation newspaper on Monday morning.

The BBC's Hugh Schofield reports from the last place the gunman was spotted

CCTV images showed the man armed with a shotgun in Liberation's reception area.

A 23-year-old photographer - a freelancer on his first day working at Liberation, according to the newspaper's deputy editor Francois Sergent - was shot from behind at close range.

The man fired twice. Receptionists said a third round jammed in the gun and no further shots were fired.

Liberation said the photographer was taken to hospital in critical condition, underwent surgery and was being kept in intensive care.

The paper's director Nicolas Demorand said on Tuesday the man was "in a slightly better state" and "we remain hopeful".

Liberation's account

It was 10.12am on Monday when a man came in by the main door, took out a pump-action shotgun and, without a word, opened fire on an assistant photographer. C, aged 23, was loading material for a photoshoot into a lift, with his back to the suspect. The bullet went into his chest and came out by his left lung, under his heart.

The attack lasted 10 seconds and the man left without saying anything, an eyewitness said. His face was uncovered.

Alerted by the noise, Lionel - an IT worker - went to reception and saw "blood everywhere, cartridges on the floor" and C, who had collapsed under the desk. Lionel gave C first aid before the emergency services arrived and took him to the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital.

CCTV footage indicated the man may have turned right on leaving the newspaper offices and taken the metro at Republique.

Interior minister Manuel Valls, who went to the newspaper offices, said it looked like a war zone: three spent cartridges, including a type normally used to kill wild boar and big game. One of the bullets had lodged in the ceiling.

A couple of hours later, the same man fired shots outside the headquarters of the bank Societe Generale, in the western business district of La Defense. No-one was hurt.

French President Francois Hollande said it was a priority to "stop this man who has tried to kill and could kill again".

Liberation published an editorial, written by Mr Demorand, headlined: "We will continue".

"Opening fire in a newspaper is an attack on the lives of men and women who were only doing their jobs - and on an idea, a collection of values which we call 'the republic'," he wrote.

Police believe the same man entered the lobby of the BFMTV news channel on Friday, threatening those present with a gun. One of them was Philippe Antoine, the channel's editor-in-chief.

The intruder emptied the chamber of his gun in the reception area without firing, saying: "Next time, I will not miss you."

CCTV showed that he spent only a few seconds in reception, before hurrying out.

Motive unclear

After hijacking a car on Monday, the gunman told the driver he had recently been released from prison, BFMTV reported.

Police would be looking for traces of the gunman's DNA, particularly in the hostage's car, the channel said.

The gunman has not been identified and his motive is unclear.

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