30 June 2020 12:47
French police have called reports of a gunman in Paris' 'Les Quatre Temps' shopping centre unfounded after placing the area on lockdown. Officers had descended on the La Defense business district to the west of the city to hunt for for "an armed individual" following a report from a member of the public. Shops in the 139,000 square-metre shopping hub were placed on lockdown while the centre's forecourt was evacuated. Download the new Independent Premium app Sharing the full story, not just the headlines However despite witness testimony, no such suspect was found. While regional media had previously said those in the area had seen a man wearing a tactical vest and carrying a rifle, a police source told the Reuters news agency the claims were unfounded.
Having told those in local schools and office buildings in the French capital's financial centre to stay where they were, the force had said it was conducting a search of the area for "the removal of doubt". Footage from inside the shopping centre appeared to show lines of shoppers with their arms raised as they passed by armed officers. Train and Metro services to the area were also suspended while the investigation took place. The shopping centre, part of the Westfield group, holds around 230 shops and is among the nation's busiest retail hubs. More follows… A police operation was under way at 'Les Quatre Temps' shopping centre in La Defense business area in western Paris on Tuesday, the city's police department said on Twitter.
Police were called to Les Quatre Temps shopping centre and La Defense train station in Paris at around 10am on Tuesday. Footage on social media shows shoppers running out of the centre while police searched the area. People could also be seen slowly evacuating the centre with their arms raised. Paris: Les Quarte Temps Shopping Centre evacuated 5 show all Paris: Les Quarte Temps Shopping Centre evacuated 1/5 AP 2/5 AFP via Getty Images 3/5 AFP via Getty Images 4/5 AFP via Getty Images 5/5 Soldiers secure the area in the business district of La Defense on Tuesday AP 1/5 AP 2/5 AFP via Getty Images 3/5 AFP via Getty Images 4/5 AFP via Getty Images 5/5 Soldiers secure the area in the business district of La Defense on Tuesday AP The Paris police department said on Twitter that the shopping centre was being evacuated to "allow for checks". Police asked people to avoid the area and to follow the instructions of the authorities. A source told Le Figaro: "We are looking for an armed man who would have been seen at the 4 temps shopping centre in La Defense district." The French daily morning newspaper also reports that the suspect may be caring an AK-47 rifle. A man who was stuck inside the train station told the Mirror Online: "We are safe. We are just waiting inside the station." The Metro and RER stations at La Defense have been closed to the public for "security measures". More updates to follow...