A manhunt has begun in France for the gunman who went on a shooting spree outside a Jewish school in Toulouse on Monday.
A teacher and three students were shot dead outside the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, France's third largest city. The gunman, whose face was obscured by a helmet, approached the school on a motor-scooter around 8 a.m., opened fire with a pistol and an automatic weapon, and fled the scene. According to the most recent reports, the killer might have been wearing a video camera and filmed his deadly acts.
The scooter and the .45 handgun are identical to those used during the shooting deaths of three soldiers -- two Muslims and one of Caribbean descent -- in the Toulouse region earlier this month. In both the March 11 and March 15 attacks, the gunman escaped by motorbike.
Based on eyewitness reports, the killer is thought to be muscular and thick-set, possibly with a military background, according to the BBC.
A month ahead of the general elections, France's presidential candidates suspended their campaigns to mourn the victims of the shooting, as well as to focus national efforts on catching the killer. Incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and socialist rival Francois Hollande both attended memorial services at synagogues in Paris on Monday night.
Earlier, Sarkozy announced that a terror alert has been raised to its highest level in the Midi-Pyrenees region, adding that security was tightened around religious schools and Jewish and Muslim institutions.
Toulouse authorities also called in behavioral analysts to help police make a profile of the killer, according to Le Monde. Police are looking into the possibility that neo-Nazis were behind the recent shootings, and inquiries have taken place regarding soldiers who were kicked out of the army and who might want to seek revenge... who might have expressed neo-Nazi opinions, France's Minister of the Interior, Claude Gueant, told reporters.
The French civil servant also described the shooter as someone who is very cold, very determined, very in control of himself, very cruel.
Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and his two children Gabriel, 4, and Arieh, 5, were killed in Monday's attack. Miriam Monsonego, the daughter of the school's principle, was also shot in the head at point-blank range.
This act is despicable, it cannot go unpunished, Sarkozy said in an address to the nation. Each time this man acts, he acts to kill, giving his victims no chance.