— CNN (@CNN) June 19, 2017
On Monday, an unidentified man rammed his vehicle into a police van on the Champs-Elysees in central Paris, according to CNN, which also reports that the collision appears to have been intentional. However, police have yet to determine whether or not the violent incident was an act of terrorism, though authorities do report that the driver was “armed.” French Interior Ministry spokesperson Pierre-Henry Brandet told reporters the small white car burst into flames shortly after colliding with the police mobile unit, and that the driver has died as a result.
The incident, which has since caused French police to cordon off the Champs-Elysees, occurred at 3:40 p.m. local time in Paris. CNN Paris correspondent Melissa Bell, who has been tweeting about the incident since it was first reported, filled in anchors from her vantage point overlooking the road. “What we can see down there is one car that’s been stopped at the middle of that police cordon, a white car, that’s been covered in the sort of material you spray on cars to put them out,” she said, “and across the road, a man on the ground. He’s been there for the last hour. I could clearly see him when I was down there earlier on.”
— Melissa Bell (@MelissaBellCNN) June 19, 2017
Back in April, a French national with ties to radical Islamic activities opened fire on police officers at the Champs-Elysees. Officials at the time noted the assailant, who previously shot at a police officer in 2001 during an arrest, had “deliberately targeted” the officers after stepping out of his vehicle near theirs and opening fire with an automatic weapon. Two months later, a man wielding a hammer and shouting “[t]his is for Syria” attacked French police outside of the Notre Dame Cathedral, which is located near the Champs-Elysees.