A Pakistani man was arrested on Wednesday (5) on suspicion of stabbing to death a teacher in broad daylight outside a university in the Paris suburbs.
The 66-year-old teacher, John Dowling, an Irishman who taught English, was stabbed repeatedly in front of the private Leonard-de-Vinci university in Courbevoie, northwest of Paris.
Higher Education Minister Frederique Vidal expressed “deep shock and anger” at a killing which has stunned students and staff at the university in the La Defense business district just outside the capital.
“It’s a tragedy that has struck the whole community. This was a language teacher who had been here for 20 years and was respected by everyone,” the university’s director Pascal Brouaye told reporters.
A source close to the investigation said the teacher, who has not been named, was stabbed 13 times, including in the throat.
He was declared dead at 12.35 pm, and a knife was found at the scene.
A police source said the suspect, who is in custody, was a former student at the university who was born in Pakistan in 1981 and was not previously known to police.
Sebastien Tran, director of the management school where the suspect had enrolled in 2016, said he had been kicked out in August 2017 for failing the year.
Forensic police could be seen in front of the university in the early afternoon, where a white tent stood over the scene of the killing.
“It’s heartbreaking. We still can’t believe it,” said Stephen Amoah, a 28-year-old student from Ghana.
His classmate Jad Sharif, a 33-year-old from Lebanon, described the murdered teacher as “very kind”.
“We liked him more than most of our teachers,” he added.
Students showed photographs of the white-bearded Irishman on their mobile phones, smiling and arm in arm with members of his class.