At least three people were killed and at least 12 were injured Tuesday evening in a shooting at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, according to the French Interior Minister.
The lone gunman, flagged as a possible extremist, who opened fire just after 7 p.m., fled the scene and remains at large, though police have identified him as an individual with a criminal record. Police have cordoned off the square where the shooting occurred and are currently engaged in a search for the suspect.
French media reported the shooter’s date of birth as February 4, 1989, but authorities have not yet released his name.
The shooter’s motive remains unclear but a terrorism investigation has been opened. Authorities also suspected a second person to be implicated in the attack.
Videos obtained by the UK Mirror show shoppers running in terror as gun shots ring out.
“There were gunshots and people running everywhere,” a local shopkeeper told BFM TV. “It lasted about ten minutes.”
The Strasbourg Christmas market draws millions of tourists every year.
Roughly 240 people have been killed in terrorist attacks inspired or directly commissioned by the Islamic State since 2015, according to Reuters.
In response to the wave of attacks, police took precautions ahead of the annual Christmas market in Strasbourg this year, banning unauthorized vehicles from the area and establishing checkpoints to search pedestrians’ bags before they enter the square.
A Tunisian Islamic extremist killed eleven people at a Christmas market in Berlin in 2016 and a similar truck attack killed more than 80 people in Nice, France that same year. The most costly Islamist attack in France occurred in November 2015, when gunmen killed 130 revelers in and around the Bataclan concert hall in Paris on a Saturday night.