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Slain Paris officer identified as Ahmed Merabet

PARIS -- The police officer killed execution-style on a Paris street by the terrorists who attacked the newspaper Charlie Hebdo was Ahmed Merabet, a son of North African immigrants who was believed to be Muslim, according to French and British news reports.

As his background emerged, a campaign of solidarity caught fire on social media with the phrase "#JeSuisAhmed" -- I Am Ahmed. That echoed the campaign of support for the newspaper using the hashtag "#JeSuisCharlie."

Merabet, who was about 40, reportedly had eight years of police service.

Video footage taken by an onlooker surfaced on the Internet after the attack Wednesday, and showed an apparently wounded Merabet on the ground, raising a hand as though appealing for mercy.

The British newspaper The Guardian said a gunman is heard on the video asking Merabet "Do you want to kill me?" before the police officer replied "No, it is OK, chief." He was then shot in the head.

Merabet was "very discreet and conscientious," police union spokesman Rocco Contento told the newspaper Le Figaro. "We're all extremely shocked."

A police union official, who requested anonymity, said Merabet's parents emigrated from predominantly Muslim North Africa. The official said he didn't know whether Merabet actively practiced the religion.

-- Combined News Services

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