French Terrorist Brothers' Final Stand: A Print Shop on the Outskirts of Paris; Printer Hostage Unharmed
PARIS—January 9, 2015—A French printer found himself on the wrong side of history and drew international attention today when two of the country's most wanted terror suspects took him hostage and gained refuge in his company's warehouse before being killed by security forces later in the day.
A number of media sources have reported that Michael Catalone, a chief executive with Creation Tendance Decouverte (Creation Trend Discovery) in Dammartin-en-Goele, was taken hostage by brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, the shooting suspects from the Charlie Hebdo massacre that earlier this week targeted the satirical publication.
The brothers, said to have links to al-Qaida, were killed in a hail of bullets when they emerged from Creation Trend Discovery's warehouse with their guns blazing. While not all media outlets identified Catalone as the hostage, the person being held was released unharmed.
A salesman waiting for a meeting at Creation Trend Discovery reportedly came face-to-face with the suspects while Catalone was in the process of being abducted. The man, identified only as Didier, was waiting to have a meeting when he met the now-dead gunmen escorting Catalone.
"When I arrived, my client came out with an armed man who said he was from the police," Didier told Agence France-Presse. "My client told me to leave, so I left.
"I was in front of the door. I shook Michel's hand and I shook the hand of one of the terrorists."
Didier said the man who identified himself as a policeman was wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying what he believed to be a Kalashnikov rifle. When the gunman reportedly told Didier, "Leave, we don't kill civilians, anyhow," the salesman called police.
"I didn't know it was a hostage situation, or a robbery. I just knew something wasn't quite right," Didier said.
The clash was one of two scenarios in which hostages were taken. A second involved a grocery store, where a gunman took five hostages. Three of the hostages were killed, as was the gunman.