French police said Friday that there is a link between the suspect identified in the fatal shooting of a policewoman in southern Paris on Thursday and the two suspects in Wednesday’s attack at Charlie Hebdo's offices, Agence France-Presse reported. Two people were arrested in connection with the Montrouge shooting but the gunman, believed to be armed with an automatic weapon, is still at large.
The gunman was a member of the same jihadist group as the two brothers -- Saïd and Chérif Kouachi -- a police source told Reuters, without naming the group. The two men arrested in connection with the killing of the 26-year-old policewoman in the southern Parisian suburb are reportedly said to have “very close links” to the suspected gunman. Officials had previously suggested that there appeared to be no link between the two incidents.
The Kouachi brothers are now believed to be holed up in a building in an industrial complex near Dammartin-en-Goele, about 38 miles northeast of Paris, with one hostage, reportedly a woman. A freelance journalist, who escaped the Charlie Hebdo attack, had told the New York Times that one of the gunmen had told her that she was being spared because she is a woman.
“'Don’t be afraid, calm down, I won’t kill you,'” one of the gunmen reportedly told the woman, according to the Times. “‘You are a woman. But think about what you’re doing. It’s not right,’” adding: “'We don’t shoot women,'” the woman reportedly recounted.
One woman was among the 12 people killed in Wednesday's attack, which is believed to be the worst terrorist attack in France in years.