First picture of orthodox priest shot by man ‘with sawn-off shotgun’ in Lyon – World News

An orthodox priest shot by a man at a church in the French city of Lyon has been pictured for the first time.

The victim, identified by police as 45-year-old father-of-two Nikolas Kakavelakis, was fired on twice at around 4pm on Saturday while he was closing the church.

Police said he was wounded in the shooting and is being treated for life-threatening injuries.

A suspect was arrested several hours later at a kebab shop in Lyon and placed in police custody, a police source said.

However, there was no confirmation that the person arrested was the suspected attacker.

It is not clear whether police are still looking for someone else in connection with the attack.

A source at the prosecutor’s office in Lyon said it had opened an investigation into attempted murder, and local authorities said the motive for the attack was not immediately clear.



First picture of orthodox priest shot by man 'with sawn-off shotgun' in Lyon - World News
The priest was closing the church when he was shot

Antoine Callot, pastor at another Greek Orthodox church in Lyon, said he asked police for security protection at his church after the shooting, Sky News reports.

“We are anxious and anguished. It’s really horrible,” he said. “Now we need to hide and be careful.”

In a tweet, the mayor of Lyon, Gregory Doucet said: “My first thoughts are with the very seriously injured victim. The motive is unknown, the suspect is on the run. An investigation is underway, let’s be careful.”

The incident came two days after a man shouting “Allahu Akbar!” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in Nice.



First picture of orthodox priest shot by man 'with sawn-off shotgun' in Lyon - World News
A police officer examines the entrance of the Orthodox Church where the shooting happened in Lyon



First picture of orthodox priest shot by man 'with sawn-off shotgun' in Lyon - World News
A cordon was put in place near the church in Lyon

During a visit to emergency service personnel in Nice on Thursday, Emmanuel Macron said: “We won’t give in. Once again, our country has been hit by an Islamist terrorist attack.

“Once again, this morning, it was three of our compatriots who fell, in Nice, in this basilica. Very clearly, it is France that is under attack.”

Two weeks ago, a schoolteacher in a Paris suburb was beheaded by an 18-year-old attacker who was apparently incensed by the teacher showing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad during a class.



First picture of orthodox priest shot by man 'with sawn-off shotgun' in Lyon - World News
Security and emergency personnel at the scene of the shooting

Government ministers had warned that there could be other Islamist militant attacks.

President Emmanuel Macron has deployed thousands of soldiers to protect sites such as places of worship and schools.

However, according to reports no one was guarding the Lyon church attacked yesterday.

In an effort to rectify what he said were misapprehensions about France’s intentions in the Muslim world, Macron gave an interview to Al Jazeera that was broadcast on Saturday.



First picture of orthodox priest shot by man 'with sawn-off shotgun' in Lyon - World News
Emmanuel Macron said he would deploy soldiers around places of worship, culture and schools

In it, he said France would not back down in the face of violence and would defend the right to free expression, including the publication of cartoons.

But he stressed that did not mean he or his officials supported the cartoons, which Muslims consider blasphemous, or that France was in any way anti-Muslim.

He said: “So I understand and respect that people could be shocked by these cartoons, but I will never accept that one can justify physical violence over these cartoons, and I will always defend the freedom in my country to write, to think, to draw.

“My role is to calm things down, which is what I’m doing, but at the same time, it’s to protect these rights.”