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With a gunman on the loose, Paris police seek witnesses

From Saskya Vandoorne and Alanna Petroff, CNN
updated 6:40 AM EST, Tue November 19, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Authorities looking for witnesses release descriptions of gunman
  • A newspaper employee was shot twice near the heart
  • A man opened fire in the lobby of the French daily Liberation
  • There were no injuries in a carjacking and when a shot was fired outside a bank

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(CNN) -- Paris police on Tuesday continued to search for the man who shot a photographer twice near the heart with a shotgun in the lobby of the French daily newspaper Liberation on Monday. The victim was in intensive care, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said.

The gunman fled after the attack, and authorities released photos showing a 5-foot-6-inch to 5-foot-8-inch tall man with a "European appearance" and graying hair.

He was estimated to be between 35 and 45 years old. Police said he was carrying one or two bags and was wearing a khaki parka or a green pullover, a dark sleeveless vest, green-and-white basketball shoes and a dark cap.

Paris Police investigating two shootings

On Tuesday, police released another image of the suspect that showed him wearing what appeared to be a red parka, blue T-shirt and pale brown knitted hat.

Paris police had no information about the man's motive, and prosecutors issued a plea for witnesses who may have seen a man "making death threats while carrying a gun," according to a statement.

The suspect apparently also opened fire in front of Societe Generale towers in Paris, the international bank said on Twitter.

There were no injuries in that shooting, and police are investigating, the bank said.

Another man told police he was carjacked in the neighborhood of La Defense. The bank's towers are in the same neighborhood.

The man said he dropped the assailant off near the Champs-Elysee, the city's main street, according to police.

On Friday, a gunman broke into BFMTV, threatening journalists before fleeing.

The description of the man at Liberation is similar to that of the man at BFMTV, and the gun used was of similar caliber, police said. But it has not been established that it was the same man.

'A fundamental freedom ... critically injured'

"We will do everything in our power to catch this individual," Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced Monday. "In our country, we cannot accept those who attack our fundamental rights, a right that women and men have always fought for all over the world. Lives have been lost over this right."

There had been no recent threats against the paper, and security was not high, managing editor Fabrice Rousselot told CNN affiliate BFMTV.

"Liberation is not and never has been a bunker. Liberation is a place of freedom," publisher Nicolas Demorand said. "We do not want to work behind bulletproof glass. We do not want to work behind iron curtains. ...

"We don't know the motivation, whether this was an act by a madman, but we can see today that a fundamental freedom has been critically injured."

Demorand told BFMTV that the 23-year-old assistant photographer was "a little better" Tuesday, but still in critical condition.

CNN's Josh Levs contributed to this report.

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