The annual Strasbourg holiday market became a scene of chaos on Tuesday night when a gunman fired in the street around 8pm. There wasn’t one singular area of chaos in this Alsace town, but rather the wounded were spread out across several different streets about 400 yards away from the Place de la Cathedrale, the central area of the market, near the Place Kleber. France has declared it an act of terrorism.
The streets were cleared and the police began the hunt for the suspect, a lone gunman with a criminal record known to the police and on a government terror watch list. Witnesses on the street claim they heard the gunman yell, “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great.” The suspect was later identified as Chérif C., 29, born in Strasbourg. He has never been convicted of terrorism and appears to have never tried to go to Syria, but Chérif C. does have an extensive criminal history, with 27 convictions, mostly for robberies and assaults, in France, Switzerland, and Germany.
It’s possible that the fatality count will change, with one person braindead and six people seriously wounded. Chérif C. used a knife and a handgun, notably difficult to acquire in France, to attack his victims.
As of Wednesday, the Strasbourg market is still closed, with most of the city center cordoned off and patrolled.