Officials: French car attack driver was probably on drugs

PARIS (AP) – The Latest on the car that drove into the sidewalk outside a pizza restaurant in France (all times local):

12:15 a.m.

A French prosecutor says it is “highly probable” that the man who drove his car into a pizzeria and killed an adolescent girl was under the influence of drugs.

Meaux Deputy Prosecutor Eric de Valroger told reporters that he has opened a homicide investigation into the Monday night attack in the town of Sept-Sorts east of Paris.

He says explosives experts combed the area and found no weapon of any kind other than the car. He ruled out any terrorist motive at this stage. Other officials say the man is believed to be suicidal.

De Valroger identifies the arrested attacker as a 31-year-old from the nearby town of La Ferte-sous-Jouarre.

He says a 3-year-old boy was flown by helicopter to Paris in life-threatening condition and 13 other people have been hospitalized.

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10:55 p.m.

Police say a 13-year-old girl was killed and her younger brother received life-threatening injuries when a driver steered his car into a pizzeria east of Paris.

Authorities initially said the victim was 8-years-old, but later said she was 13. An official with the national gendarme service said her younger brother was among at least 12 people injured in the Monday night attack.

The official said the attacker was driving a BMW that he aimed at patrons of Pizzeria Cesena in the small town of Sept-Sorts, about 60 kilometers (36 miles) east of Paris.

The official was not authorized to be publicly named.

France’s Interior Ministry has described the man as apparently suicidal and said it does not believe his actions were linked to terrorism.

– By Angela Charlton.

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10:35 p.m.

France’s Interior Ministry says a man who drove his car into a pizzeria was apparently suicidal and the incident is not believed linked to terrorism.

Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that the man was born in 1985 and was believed to have tried to commit suicide last week.

Brandet said a young girl was killed and four people were injured in a condition of “absolute emergency.” He said eight others were slightly injured.

The man was arrested soon after the attack Monday night in the town of Sept-Sorts east of Paris.

A police official said the man was psychologically unstable and had no police record. The official says investigators are not searching for accomplices.

– By Angela Charlton

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10:11 p.m.

French officials say the driver who steered into patrons of a pizza restaurant east of Paris clearly acted intentionally, but they have no reason so far to suspect a terrorist motive.

A judicial official said Monday night that the Paris prosecutor’s office, which oversees French terrorism investigations, was not involved in the case because there was no proof of terrorism at this stage.

A security official said there is no evidence of a political or Islamic extremist motive.

But both officials say authorities view the driver’s actions as intentional. They were not authorized to be publicly named.

An 8-year-old girl and at least five others were injured in the attack in Sept-Sorts, a town about 65 kilometers (40 miles) east of Paris.

– By Angela Charlton in Paris.

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10:00 p.m.

French police say an 8-year-old girl was killed and at least five people were injured when a driver slammed his car into the sidewalk cafe of a pizza restaurant in a small town east of Paris.

An official with the national gendarme service said the driver was arrested soon after the incident Monday night in the town of Sept-Sorts.

The official said it is unclear whether the act was deliberate. The official was not authorized to be publicly named according to police policy.

An Algerian man drove his car into a group of French soldiers last week, and a truck attack in the French city of Nice left 86 people dead a little more than a year ago. Several other countries have seen cars used as weapons in recent years.

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