Three people were injured Saturday by a man armed with a knife and hammer inside a bustling French train station, with police ruling out terrorism and suggesting the suspect may have mental health issues.
The attack occurred in the Gare de Lyon rail station in Paris at around 7:35 a.m. where one person suffered serious stomach wounds and was rushed to the hospital to undergo surgery. The victim’s injuries are life-threatening, police say.
The other two victims suffered light wounds, police say.
A 32-year-old suspect has been taken into custody. The suspected assailant’s motive was not immediately clear.
French media reports the man is from Mali in Africa, while police say he was carrying residency papers from Italy and medicines suggesting he was undergoing treatment. The papers allow him to travel legally to other European countries.
“This individual appears to suffer from psychiatric troubles,” said Laurent Nunez, the Paris police chief who is also in charge of the massive security operation for this year’s Olympic Games in the city which will run from July 26 through August 11.
While stressing that the police investigation was still in its early stages, Nunez said: “There are no elements that lead us to think that this could be a terrorist act.”
Passersby intervened to help railway police officers detain the suspect, Nunez said.
The attack took place in one of the station’s cavernous halls, authorities said. Millions of passengers ride the transport hub’s high-speed trains that link Paris to other cities and its commuter train services to the suburbs and towns in the Paris region.
Investigators are analyzing the knife and hammer, the Paris prosecutor’s office said. It said the police investigation is looking at a potential preliminary charge of attempted murder.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin described the attack as an “unbearable act” and thanked those who detained the assailant.
There have been several knife attacks in France recently.
In October, a Chechen immigrant on France’s extremist watchlist allegedly stabbed a teacher to death and wounded two others in a suspected terror attack, while in June, a Syrian refugee armed with a knife stabbed four young children and injured two adults by a lake in the French Alps.
In January of last year, at least six people were injured in an attack at Paris’ Gare Du Nord train station.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.