French police were hunting a lone gunman on Monday after two shootings at the Paris offices of French left-wing newspaper Libération and the Société Générale bank.
One man, a 27-year-old photographer's assistant working on a shoot at Libération, was shot in the chest and stomach with a pump-action shotgun, according to the newspaper. He remains in critical condition.
The attacker "walked in, fired twice and left," Libération managing editor Fabrice Rousselot told reporters.
He left the scene of the shooting, which occurred around 10:15 a.m. local time, without ever saying a word, the paper quoted a police source as saying.
Shortly afterward a man matching his description opened fire outside the Société Générale's headquarters in the La Défense business district on the western outskirts of Paris, police said, without confirming that the same man was responsible. Nobody was injured in the second shooting.
The suspect then reportedly took a motorist hostage and demanded to be dropped off at the Champs-Élysées. The hostage has since been released and was able to raise the alarm, with the famous avenue on lockdown as police continued their manhunt.
Unconfirmed reports say the shooter entered the Paris subway after getting out of the car-jacked vehicle. They also said he was wearing a khaki coat and a beret or cap, and that he is armed with a shotgun and possibly grenades.
The gunman remained at large as night fell in Paris.
French President Francois Hollande said the gunman "who could still kill" must be arrested.
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Libération's editor-in-chief, Nicolas Demorand, expressed outrage at what had happened. "When you have someone with a shotgun coming into a newspaper's offices in a democracy, it is very, very serious, whatever the mental state of the person," Demorand told Agence France-Presse.
"If papers and other media have to become bunkers, something has gone wrong in our society."
Police have been sent to guard the offices of all national French newspapers, according to Interior Minister Manuel Valls.
"We will do everything in our power to catch this individual," Valls said. "In our country, we cannot accept those who attack our fundamental rights, a right that women and men have always fought for all over the world. Lives have been lost over this right."
Monday's shootings came just three days after a man stormed into the Paris offices of news channel BFMTV and emptied several cartridges from a similar shotgun before warning a senior editor: "Next time, I will not miss you."
Police were investigating a possible link between the incidents. According to AFP, CCTV footage suggested that the same man was involved.
The Paris prosecutor said on Monday afternoon that the gunman appeared to be behind the shooting at the newspaper and three other attacks.
Euronews' Brussels correspondent tweeted this screenshot (which has not been verified):
— James Franey (@jamesfraney) November 18, 2013
The Associated Press released this raw video of the scenes in Paris:
This video, released by BFMTV, purportedly shows the suspect on Friday: