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Gunman 'shot everything moving'

Attack scene
The bloodstained floor of the council chamber after the attack  

NANTERRE, France -- Eyewitnesses told how they desperately hit the ground for cover as a gunman sprayed a French town hall chamber with bullets from a .357 Magnum.

"He was shooting at anything that moved ... but he was completely calm," one witness to the gun spree which killed eight and wounded 30 said.

"It was a total nightmare, everyone around me was falling down."

Nanterre Mayor Jacqueline Frayasse told reporters: "He said nothing. It was long. It lasted many minutes.

"We were about to leave when suddenly a man got up and started shooting straight ahead."

Council members were tidying up their notes and about to head out for a meal when the gunman struck, witnesses said. Some froze as he began shooting then made his way toward them.

"It lasted a long time. He replaced the cartridges and must have shot 40 or 50 rounds," deputy mayor Lucien Batard told Europe 1 radio.

Frayasse said she did not know the attacker. There had been no heated debate at the meeting, which was just ending when he calmly began shooting, she said.

"I ended the session," she told the Associated Press. "The man had been sitting in the public area. He shot straight in front of him, and then he moved to where the council members were sitting."

Another witness told France Info radio the man had two or three guns and was shooting with one under each arm.

The witness said the gunman was a member of France's Green party and that he started shooting Green representatives before opening fire randomly on others in the room.

"He comes to all the council meetings and had no motive to do this," the witness said.

She said the shooting lasted several minutes before survivors wrestled the man, in his thirties, to the floor and held him until police arrived.

"I thought it was a joke at first," said Samuel Rijik, a municipal official who was at the meeting. "Some people thought it was firecrackers."

"I crawled under my table and a bullet went through my jacket. I thought I was hit."

Louis Carzou, of French LCI television, told CNN that the gunman used two weapons, one of them red.




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