Huge hunt launched for suspect behind death of prison officers

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 15 May, 2024 06:00 | 2 mins read
2 suspected gangsters gunned down in fierce gun battle with city undercover detectives
Crime scene tape used for illustration purposes. PHOTO/Internet

Two French prison officers have been killed in an ambush on a prison van near Rouen in Normandy.

Prisoner Mohamed Amra - known as "The Fly" - was being taken from court to a prison when a car rammed the prison van at a toll booth.

Gunmen then opened fire at prison officers, with two officers killed and two critically injured.

Several hundred police officers and gendarmes have been deployed to carry out a manhunt.

French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on X that "everything is being done to find the perpetrators".

Prosecutors identified the inmate who was freed as Mohamed Amra, born in 1994.

The wanted suspect. PHOTO/AFP

Amra was convicted of burglary on 10 May and had been indicted by prosecutors in Marseille for a kidnapping that led to a death.

The 30-year-old inmate is said to have ties to a gang in the southern city of Marseille, which has been plagued by drug-related gang violence.

At the time of the ambush which led to his escape he was being transported back to jail in the town of Évreux after attending a morning court hearing in Rouen.

The ambush took place around 11:00 (09:00 GMT) near a toll booth on the A154 motorway.

The officers were shot with "heavy weapons" by the prisoner's accomplices, according to French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti.

The attackers escaped in a car which police believe they have now recovered, abandoned near the toll gate where the attack happened.

Roadblocks have been set up across north-west France, with police following up on every tip-off.

Speaking to the media following a crisis unit meeting, Mr Dupond-Moretti confirmed that two officers had died.

"One leaves behind a wife and two children who were meant to celebrate their 21st birthday in two days. The other leaves a wife who is five months pregnant," he said.

"Everything - and I mean everything - will be put in place to find the perpetrators of this vile crime," Mr Dupond-Moretti said, adding that the perpetrators were "people for whom life has no value".

They would be found and punished "in a way that is proportionate to the crime", he said.

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