France hostage
A general view shows gendarmes and police officers at a supermarket after a hostage situation in Trebes, France, March 23, 2018.REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

A gunman killed three people and took hostages several others in Trebes, southern France on Friday. After nearly a four-hour standoff, cops shot him dead at the Super U supermarket, French media reported.   

The gunman, identified as 26-year-old Redouane Lakdim, was earlier involved in minor crimes like drug offenses, French interior Minister Gerard Collomb said. He shot to death two people and killed another cop in a carjacking in Carcassonne the same day morning.

"People were absolutely calm before and never thought that there could be an attack in a town like this," CNN quoted Collomb as saying. The risk of terrorism in France was still "very high," he added.

A local prosecutor has called the attack to be "ISIS-inspired."

Redouane Lakdim shot at four cops in Carcassonne

The now deceased Lakdim, Friday morning, opened fire at four national police officers in the city of Carcassonne, which is a few miles away from Trebes. The officers happened to be jogging and the driver tried to ram them. The same car was found at Super U later. 

The Interior Minister, Collomb, said the gunman stole the car after killing a person inside it and injuring another before driving to Trebes supermarket where he killed another two and took some hostages.

The attacker claimed allegiance to ISIS and demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam, believed to be the mastermind of the 2015 Paris attacks, a BFM TV reporter at the scene said.

How a cop tricked the gunman and put him down

A police officer convinced the gunman to free hostages by taking him in exchange. After entering the supermarket, he shot him, Collomb said. 

Collomb announced on Saturday that the said cop, Arnaud Beltrame passed away after being reportedly hit by several bullets. "Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame has left us. France will never forget his heroism, his bravery, his sacrifice," Collomb said.

Reacting to the hostage incident, French President Emmanuel Macron called it a "terror attack". He was in Brussels at an EU leaders' summit during the time of the incident.

"Everything leads us to believe that it is indeed a terror attack which is, as I said, still ongoing. The police ... intervened in a very coordinated manner after what was first an attack against police officers," Macron said at a press conference alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel.