Paris gunman had long crime record

PARIS (AP) — The gunman who shot and killed a police officer on the famed Champs-Elysees just days before the French presidential vote spent 14 years in prison, including for attacking other officers, Frances’s anti-terrorism prosecutor said Friday — a criminal history that gave a jolt to an already nail-biting election and fueled growing security concerns.

Yet, despite an arrest as recently as February, the 39-year-old assailant, Karim Cheurfi, had shown no signs of radicalization, Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said, and was released for lack of evidence of a threat.

That all changed Thursday when Cheurfi, a Frenchman born in the Paris suburbs, opened fire with a Kalashnikov assault rifle on the crowded boulevard, striking a police officer with two bullets to the head and wounding two others before being shot and killed.

Security forces found a note praising the Islamic State group at the attack site. That and IS’s unusually quick claim of responsibility were the only signs he had entered the world of Islamic extremists, Molins said.