Crowd breaks into applause in Strasbourg as they thank police for killing Christmas market gunman

‘Bravo!’ Crowd breaks into applause in Strasbourg as they thank police for killing Christmas market gunman who was shot dead in gun battle with anti-terror cops

  • Cherif Chekatt left three dead and 12 injured when he attacked the Strasbourg Christmas market on Tuesday 
  • Three policemen found Chekatt walking in a street in the Neudorf area of central Strasbourg at 9pm Thursday
  • They tried to stop him but he opened fire and they shot him dead outside a warehouse after manhunt 
  • Crowds gathered at the police cordon where Chekatt was shot. Some applauded and shouted ‘bravo’  

Jubilant crowds shouted ‘bravo’ and applauded French police last night after the Strasbourg Christmas market gunman was killed in the street. 

Three policemen found Cherif Chekatt walking in the Neudorf area of central Strasbourg at 9pm. They tried to stop him but he opened fire and they shot him dead outside a warehouse.

Crowds at the scene paid a touching tribute to officers who had hunted the terrorist for two days after he murdered three and injured 13 on Tuesday night.

More than 720 anti-terror cops had been looking for the 29-year-old since he walked through a Christmas market shooting and stabbing pedestrians before escaping wounded in a hijacked taxi.

Today, the market re-opened with a heavy police presence. 

The Strasbourg Christmas market gunman was killed by police on Thursday night. Pictured: Police surround the man's body

The Strasbourg Christmas market gunman was killed by police on Thursday night. Pictured: Police surround the man’s body

Neutralised: Three policemen found Cherif Chekatt (pictured is his corpse) walking in a street in the Neudorf area of central Strasbourg at 9pm. They tried to stop him but he opened fire and they shot him dead outside a warehouse

Neutralised: Three policemen found Cherif Chekatt (pictured is his corpse) walking in a street in the Neudorf area of central Strasbourg at 9pm. They tried to stop him but he opened fire and they shot him dead outside a warehouse

Cherif Chekatt (pictured is his corpse) opened fire on anti-terror police who tried to stop him outside a warehouse – but was shot dead in the street

Chekatt hid out in a warehouse a few hundred yards from his parents' house where he grew up in the northeastern French city. Pictured: The aftermath of his killing
Chekatt hid out in a warehouse a few hundred yards from his parents' house where he grew up in the northeastern French city. Pictured: The aftermath of his killing

Chekatt hid out in a warehouse a few hundred yards from his parents’ house where he grew up in the northeastern French city. Pictured: The aftermath of his killing

Crowds at the scene paid a touching tribute to officers who had hunted the terrorist for two days after he murdered three and injured 13 on Tuesday night

Crowds at the scene paid a touching tribute to officers who had hunted the terrorist for two days after he murdered three and injured 13 on Tuesday night

A French military patrols during the reopening of the christmas market of Strasbourg, eastern France

A French military patrols during the reopening of the christmas market of Strasbourg, eastern France

After his escape, Chekatt hid out in a warehouse a few hundred yards from his parents’ house where he grew up in the northeastern French city. 

A woman spotted a man fitting his description with an injured arm on Thursday afternoon and alerted authorities.

Police sealed off the area and used a helicopter with thermal cameras to hunt for the terrorist – but couldn’t find him until the evening. 

Checkatt, 29, had criminal convictions in France and Germany and was radicalised in jail. After his death, ISIS propaganda news agency Amaq claimed he was a ‘soldier’ of Daesh.

Police found weapons and jihadist propaganda in his flat and on Wednesday arrested his parents, two brothers and a friend in connection with the attack. On Friday, they arrested his third brother in Algeria to see if he was involved. 

A French police officer running during an operation in the Plaine des Bouchers area of Strasbourg near the Neudorf neighbourhood where the suspected ISIS terrorist was gunned down in a shoot-out with cops

A French police officer running during an operation in the Plaine des Bouchers area of Strasbourg near the Neudorf neighbourhood where the suspected ISIS terrorist was gunned down in a shoot-out with cops

French police officers raided a warehouse in Plaine des Bouchers area of Strasbourg near the Neudorf neighbourhood where terrorist Cherif Chekatt was gunned down

French police officers raided a warehouse in Plaine des Bouchers area of Strasbourg near the Neudorf neighbourhood where terrorist Cherif Chekatt was gunned down

French special police forces secured an area during a police operation where the suspected gunman, Cherif Chekatt,  was killed tonight

French special police forces secured an area during a police operation where the suspected gunman, Cherif Chekatt, was killed tonight

Chekatt was killed after firing on police officers, who returned fire, as a police helicopter had been circling overhead

Chekatt was killed after firing on police officers, who returned fire, as a police helicopter had been circling overhead Strasbourg suspect shot dead in brief gun battle with French police.

Crowds play Bob Marley’s I Shot The Sheriff where gunman Cherif Chekatt was killed

A French news channel has caused a stir by playing Bob Marley’s I Shot The Sheriff in the background to coverage on last night’s killing of Strasbourg terrorist Cherif Chekatt. 

The song was being played by someone in crowds at the scene and was picked up by BFM TV’s microphones. 

The channel let the tune play on air during a discussion of Tuesday’s Christmas market attack which killed three and injured 13.

It is believed the onlooker chose the song because of the lyric ‘sheriff’ sounds like the attacker’s first name, Cherif.

Viewers could scarcely believe their ears. One wrote on Twitter: ‘Am I the only one to have heard I Shot the Sheriff behind the footage of the killed terrorist on BFM TV?’ 

Another added: ‘Surreal! I shot the sheriff is playing in the background.’  BFM has yet to comment.  

Police thanked people who spotted him for helping track him down tweeting: ‘Thank you for your reports that helped to find the wanted individual.’ 

Police officer Emmanuel Georg told BFM TV station that three police officers patrolling the neighbourhood tried to intercept a suspect corresponding to Chekatt’s description as he was about to enter a building.

The officer said: ‘He opened fired, they responded and managed to shoot him down.’

A witness said he heard shots and rushed to the window to see what was happening and closed the shutters when he spotted the cornered suspect across the street.

Cem Akcakaya said: ‘I was very afraid for my children, I told them to go away, and I went to the side.’ 

More than 720 French security forces had been hunting for the 29-year-old terrorist since the bloodshed at a Christmas market in the city on Tuesday night

More than 720 French security forces had been hunting for the 29-year-old terrorist since the bloodshed at a Christmas market in the city on Tuesday night

French special police forces secure an area during a police operation in Neudorf in the Meinau district after the deadly shooting in Strasbourg, France

French special police forces secure an area during a police operation in Neudorf in the Meinau district after the deadly shooting in Strasbourg, France

Investigators working on the street during a police operation in which the suspected gunman, Cherif Chekatt, who killed three people at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, was killed this evening

Investigators working on the street during a police operation in which the suspected gunman, Cherif Chekatt, who killed three people at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, was killed this evening

Heavily armed police swooped on the Neudorf neighbourhood of Strasbourg today amid a massive manhunt for the Christmas market shooter

Heavily armed police swooped on the Neudorf neighbourhood of Strasbourg today amid a massive manhunt for the Christmas market shooter

Forensic and armed officers working at the scene where Chekatt was killed in a shoot-out today

The propaganda wing of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack, calling Chekatt one of its ‘soldiers’ who responded to its calls to target citizens of nations in the coalition fighting the jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

Among the 13 injured in the attack, three remain in critical condition while three others have been released from hospital, Castaner said Thursday.

Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries told reporters after news that Chekatt had been killed: ‘I think it will help to get back to a life that I would describe as normal. With the death of this terrorist… citizens, like me, are relieved.’   

Neighbours on the housing estate where Chekatt family’s lived described the suspect as a typical young man who dressed in jogging pants and trainers rather than traditional Islamic robes. 

A leader of a community group said outside Chekkat’s apartment building in Strasbourg: ‘He was a little gangster, but I didn’t see any signs of him being radicalised.’ 

The Paris prosecutor’s office said Chekatt’s parents and two brothers were being held in custody, while two of his sisters in Paris were also questioned today and one of their homes was being searched.  

Rescue workers walked past hooded police officers standing guard in Strasbourg, eastern France tonight, where Chekatt was shot and killed

Rescue workers walked past hooded police officers standing guard in Strasbourg, eastern France tonight, where Chekatt was shot and killed

Hooded police officers block the access in the Meinau district in Strasbourg, eastern France, as the manhunt for the terrorist continued as night fell  

Hooded police officers block the access in the Meinau district in Strasbourg, eastern France, as the manhunt for the terrorist continued as night fell  

Police cars at the scene of the shooting in the Neudorf neighbourhood of Strasbourg this evening as officers in body armour and carrying rifles hunted for  Chekatt throughout the day 

Police cars at the scene of the shooting in the Neudorf neighbourhood of Strasbourg this evening as officers in body armour and carrying rifles hunted for Chekatt throughout the day 

The Paris prosecutor's office said Chekatt's parents and two brothers were being held in custody, while two of his sisters in Paris were also questioned today and one of their homes was searched

The Paris prosecutor’s office said Chekatt’s parents and two brothers were being held in custody, while two of his sisters in Paris were also questioned today and one of their homes was searched

A hooded police officer holding his gun in Strasbourg, eastern France, as armed officers combed the Neudorf neighbourhood of Strasbourg in search for the gunman

A hooded police officer holding his gun in Strasbourg, eastern France, as armed officers combed the Neudorf neighbourhood of Strasbourg in search for the gunman

Cherif Chekatt, 29, is being hunted by French police after opening fire at a Christmas market in Strasbourg this week, killing three
A custody image of Cherif Chekatt released by police

Cherif Chekatt, 29, is being hunted by French police after opening fire at a Christmas market in Strasbourg this week, killing three

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed ‘the solidarity of the whole country’ towards the victims as he arrived for a European summit in Brussels last night. 

‘It is not only France that has been hit… but a great European city as well,’ he added, referring to the seat of the European parliament in the eastern French city that lies on the border with Germany. 

A relieved Strasbourg prepared to reopen its popular Christmas market on Friday after French police shot dead the gunman who killed three people there in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

Cherif Chekatt was killed late Thursday after a two-day manhunt when a police patrol spotted him on a street in the district where he was last seen after Tuesday night’s attack on Christmas shoppers.

The lights on the market’s towering Christmas tree were illuminated Friday for the first time since the attack ahead of the official re-opening of the market at 11am.

‘I hope life will get back to normal but I’m not too sure,’ said Franck Hoffmann as opened his wooden chalet offering Christmas candles and ornaments on Friday.

‘Business isn’t going to be what it was,’ he predicted. 

Questions remained over how Chekatt was able to evade the tight security perimeter set up for an event long known to be a prime target for jihadist groups. 

Heavily armed French police descended on a street in the Neudorf neighbourhood of Strasbourg on Thursday amid a manhunt for Christmas market shooter Cherif Chekatt

Heavily armed French police descended on a street in the Neudorf neighbourhood of Strasbourg on Thursday amid a manhunt for Christmas market shooter Cherif Chekatt

Officers blocked a street in the east of the French city, though it was not immediately clear whether they had tracked Chekatt down

Officers blocked a street in the east of the French city, though it was not immediately clear whether they had tracked Chekatt down

The raid comes two days after Chekatt killed three and wounded 12 after opening fire at the city's Christmas market before fleeing when he was shot in the shoulder

The raid comes two days after Chekatt killed three and wounded 12 after opening fire at the city’s Christmas market before fleeing when he was shot in the shoulder

Officers sweep the streets in Neudorf, the neighbourhood where Chekatt was dropped off by a taxi driver after his rampage

Officers sweep the streets in Neudorf, the neighbourhood where Chekatt was dropped off by a taxi driver after his rampage

Officers have been searching for two days for any sign of shooter Cherif Chekatt, amid fears he might strike a second time
Officers have been searching for two days for any sign of shooter Cherif Chekatt, amid fears he might strike a second time

Officers have been searching for two days for any sign of shooter Cherif Chekatt, amid fears he might strike a second time

French special police forces were also spotted in the Meinau neighbourhood, close to Neudorf, while heavily armed

Around 500 police, security agents and soldiers control access at checkpoints on the bridges leading to the river island, a UN World Heritage site, that houses the market.

The goal is to ‘create a bubble with searches at the entry points,’ Mayor Roland Ries said after the attack, while regional government representative Jean-Luc Marx said he had not determined ‘any flaws in the security measures’.

Many residents, however, were not convinced after Chekatt managed to slip through the controls with a handgun and a knife.

‘It doesn’t surprise me,’ said Emeline, 38, who works in the city centre. ‘You wear a heavy coat, put something in the bottom of your bag. You can bring in what you want.’ 

France’s anti-terror prosecutor Remy Heitz is to hold a press conference in Strasbourg on Friday while Interior Minister Christophe Castaner will attend the reopening of the market, which usually draws two million people every year.

France has been on high alert since the start of a wave of jihadist attacks in 2015, which prompted a threefold surge in the security budget for the market, to one million euros.