French police officers stand guard in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

France shooter killed Thursday during police operation

7 more being held by police in shooting investigation

Investigators looking into the Strasbourg attack are trying to establish whether the main suspect was helped by accomplices while on the run, Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said Friday.

The prosecutor, who handles terror cases throughout France, told a news conference on Friday that seven people are in police custody, including four family members of Cherif Chekatt. The 29-year-old was shot dead on Thursday during a police operation which took place in the Neudorf neighbourhood of the city.

READ MORE: Suspected gunman named, had long police record

“We want to reconstruct the past 48 hours in order to find out whether he got some support,” Heitz said.

Chekatt was suspected of killing three people near Strasbourg’s Christmas market on Tuesday night. Heitz said that, in addition, “a fourth victim is brain dead. Among the 12 other wounded, there is one person in a life-threatening condition and four who remain hospitalized.”

After a two-day manhunt, Heitz said, on Thursday evening three officers patrolling in Neudorf spotted a man corresponding to the suspect’s description. He noticed their vehicle and tried unsuccessfully to enter a building. When police officers identified themselves, Chekatt turned around and opened fire.

“A projectile hit the vehicle above the left rear door, two police officers responded, shooting several times, and killed him,” Heitz said.

Investigators found a gun, a knife and ammunition on Chekatt’s body.

READ MORE: French police try to catch attack suspect dead or alive

The immediate aftermath of the shootout between French security forces and the suspect was caught on camera from across the street, with video footage showing armed officers at the scene and the body of the man slumped in a doorway.

More officers arrive at the scene soon after, followed by crime scene investigators.

The Paris prosecutor’s office formally identified the man as Chekatt, a Strasbourg-born man with a long history of convictions for various crimes, including robberies. Chekatt also had been on a watch list of potential extremists.

Witnesses said the gunman shouted “God is great!” in Arabic and sprayed gunfire from a security zone near the Christmas market on Tuesday. Security forces wounded the man but he managed to escape in a taxi, which dropped him off in Neudorf.

More than 700 officers searched for Chekatt, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told CNews television.

Chekatt was well-known to police, but as a common criminal, not a terrorist. He had his first conviction at 13, and had 26 more by the time he died at age 29. He served jail time in France, Germany and Switzerland.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Heavy police presence in Victoria had part of Bay Street blocked off

Bay Street east of Quadra Street was blocked off on Saturday

Hundreds of foreign species still washing up on B.C. coast, eight years after tsunami

The Royal BC Museum is home to thousands of samples collected along the west coast of North America

Victoria first Canadian city to join United Nations tree planting challenge

The City of Victoria pledges to plant 5,000 trees by the end of 2020

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Most Read