Three police officers were shot dead in France during the call for domestic violence

PARIS – Three French police officers were shot dead by a man when they arrived at a house in Saint-Just, a commune far from central France, to respond to a call for domestic violence, police said on Wednesday.

A woman who was a reported victim of domestic violence sought refuge on the roof of the house and was later rescued by police, French broadcaster BFMTV reported.

The house caught fire and the gunman was later found dead in his car, police said.

The incident took place in a small hamlet in Saint-Just, about 300 miles southeast of Paris.

It was not immediately clear how he died or where the car was located. Police have previously said the man is armed and trying to find him.

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The three gendarme officers killed in the incident were 21, 37 and 45 years old, the interior ministry said in a statement. A fourth officer was injured and his injuries are not life-threatening, he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron offered his condolences to the families of the dead officers.

“To protect us, our forces act by endangering their lives. They are our heroes, “said Macron wrote on Twitter.

Officials did not comment on the reason for the attack.

The gunman was 48 years old and was known to law enforcement because of at least one past court case involving non-payment of child support, according to an official from the prosecutor’s office in the nearby town of Clermont-Ferrand.

The French interior minister described the attacker as a “maniac”.