Published March 19, 2012
TOULOUSE, France – A French police official says the gun used to kill four people at a Jewish school Monday was the same gun used in attacks on three French paratroopers last week.
Police had been investigating a connection between the attacks after a gunman opened fire outside Ozar Hatorah school in the southwestern French city of Toulouse, killing a rabbi, his two sons and one other child, according to the prosecutor's office.
Prosecutor Michel Valet said a 30-year-old rabbi and his 3-year-old and 6-year-old sons were killed in the attack just before classes started at the Ozar Hatorah school.
Another child, the 8-year-old daughter of the school principal, was also killed, school officials said. Valet said a 17-year-old boy was also seriously wounded and in the operating ward of a city hospital.
"The drama occurred a bit before 8 a.m. A man arrived in front of the school on a motorcycle or scooter," Valet said, adding that the man got off his scooter outside the school and opened fire.
"He shot at everything he had in front of him, children and adults," he said. "The children were chased inside the school."
Officials say the shooter fled the scene on a scooter.
A police official said the same powerful 11.43-caliber handgun used in Monday's attack on a school in Toulouse was used in an attack four days ago that killed two paratroopers in nearby Montauban, and in an attack that killed a paratrooper eight days ago in Toulouse. The dead and injured were all of North African and Caribbean origin.
All three times, the attacker came on a motorcycle, apparently alone, and then sped away.
In Monday's attack, the killer also used a 9-caliber gun, the police official said. At least 15 shots were fired at the school in a residential neighborhood in northeastern Toulouse, the official said. The official, based in Paris, was not authorized to speak publicly and asked that he not be identified by name.
The motive for the killings is unclear.
The Paris prosecutor's office said Monday it will investigate eventual terrorist links to Monday's killing and the two killings of paratroopers last week. The prosecutor's office, in a statement, did not indicate any evidence so far of any form of terrorism.
France's Prime Minister Francois Fillon says he has asked for all schools and religious buildings to be secured in the wake of Monday's school shooting.
Sarkozy visited the school accompanied by Richard Prasquier, the president of CRIF, the umbrella group representing Jewish organizations.
"It's a day of national tragedy," Sarkozy said. "The barbary, the savagery, the cruelty cannot win. Hate cannot win. The nation is much stronger."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.