An armed man took hostages in a supermarket in southern France on Friday, killing at least one and seriously wounding another. He had earlier opened fire on police nearby.
The attacker was still in the supermarket and it was not clear how many other people were inside with him.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said all information suggested it “seems to be a terrorist act.”
The man first fired six shots at police officers who were on their way back from jogging near the city of Carcassonne on Friday morning, said Yves Lefebvre, secretary general of SGP Police-FO police union. One police officer had a shoulder injury but it was not serious, Lefebvre said.
The suspect then went to a Super U supermarket in the nearby small town of Trebes, where he shot and killed one person and shot another who is in life-threatening condition, Lefebvre said.
Special police units were sent to the scene and local authorities blocked roads and urged residents to stay away.
Interior Minister spokesman Frederic Delanouvelle told The Associated Press that there is one suspect and police are trying to subdue him. He provided no details of how many people were taken hostage.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said counterterrorism investigators were taking over the probe but did not provide details about why. The move came after unconfirmed media reports that the assailant claimed connections to the Islamic State group.
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb headed for the scene after talking with French President Emmanuel Macron, who is following the situation closely, according to a security official.
France has been on high alert since a string of Islamic extremist attacks in 2015 and 2016 that killed more than 200 people.