The body of the victim was found in Éragny-sur-Oise, north-west of the capital, according to the French national counterterrorism prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor’s office confirmed that the attacker was killed by police in the same neighborhood.
The victim was a teacher in a high school in the region of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, according to the prosecution. The teacher recently showed controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad to his students, according to several French media outlets, including CNN affiliate BFMTV.
According to the French newspaper Le Monde, some Muslim parents complained at the school about the murdered teacher’s decision to use one or more of the cartoons as part of a discussion of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
The prosecutor’s office told CNN on Friday that four people had been taken into custody following the fatal attack.
Nordine Chaouadi, a parent of a student at the school, told Agence France-Presse that the teacher took the Muslim children out of the classroom during the discussion.
“My son told me it was just to preserve them, it was out of sheer kindness, because he had to show a caricature of the prophet of Islam and just said to the Muslim children, ‘Get out, I do not want. to hurt your feelings, “that’s what my son told me,” Chaouadi told AFP.
French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking at the scene, said the teacher had been “the victim of an Islamist attack”.
The teacher was “killed for teaching students about freedom of speech, the freedom to believe and not to believe,” Macron said.
Police have provided a few more details about the perpetrator, victim or incident. The anti-terrorism prosecution, which has taken over the investigation into the attack, has not spoken publicly of a motive.
The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmamin, declared on Twitter that he “kept himself directly informed” of the situation “from the crisis room (which he) had opened, in conjunction with the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister”.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer called the attack a “despicable murder of one of his servants, a teacher,” and said his thoughts were with the victim’s family.
Friday’s attack comes as a trial continues into a series of January 2015 terrorist attacks that began with a massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices following the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.