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July 14, 2007
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French policeman commits murder-suicide

The Associated Press
Related: The Suicidal Officer: Confronting our brothers and sisters

MALAKOFF, France — A police officer killed his 11-year-old twins and a fellow officer Friday before turning his gun on himself at his Paris home, officials said.

The killings occurred at a gendarme compound that includes officers' housing at Malakoff, on the southern edge of the French capital. Gendarmes carry out policing functions, but under the Defense Ministry.

The killing was apparently linked to a "personal conflict" between the two officers, said State Prosecutor Philippe Courroye.

The exact order of events was unclear. Courroye said the most likely scenario was that the officer, whose identity was not made public, fatally shot his superior officer and then killed his 11-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, before killing himself.

The shooter's body was found at the foot of a stairwell on the ground floor of his apartment building, while the other three bodies were found in the entryway of his apartment, Courroye told reporters.

The gendarmes' central press service said the twins' mother was at work at the time.

President Nicolas Sarkozy went to the police compound soon afterward, along with Defense Minister Herve Morin and Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie.

The prosecutor said the officer used his personal weapon in the killings and that he had received psychiatric treatment.

The officer's service gun had been seized from him in September 2006 because of "psychological problems," said gendarme spokeswoman Capt. Olivia Poupot. She said the officer and the colleague he shot, both 43, had had "differences," but did not elaborate.

Gen. Gerard Remy of the gendarme service said an internal investigation was under way into the incident, which he said was the first of its kind in the gendarme service.

"The whole community is very shaken up," he said.

An autopsy was to be conducted this weekend.

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