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12 Victims Died In Shooting; We Learn More About Them


We continue to follow events in France this morning. There are now two standoffs involving gunmen. In Paris, police have descended on a kosher grocery store where two attackers are said to have taken several hostages this morning. Authorities say the suspects in the grocery store may be linked to the two brothers thought to have launched a deadly attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Those two brothers are now cornered in an industrial building in a village just outside Paris. The 12 victims of the attack on Charlie Hebdo included two police officers. They were killed while trying to protect the French magazine. Lauren Frayer has profiles from Paris.

LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: It's a slogan now familiar throughout the world, Je suis Charlie - I am Charlie. Thousands of Parisians have been gathering here daily, holding up placards with those words. But a variation has popped up on Twitter - #JeSuisAhmed, for Ahmed Merabet, a police officer killed in the same rampage Wednesday.


FRAYER: Amateur video captured his brutal death on a Paris sidewalk outside offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine. The video has aired around the world, inspiring expressions of sympathy who didn't even know Merabet and from this fellow police officer who did.

ALEXANDRA SOLER: I knew he was walking into 11th District in Paris. I knew very well his captain. So when I knew it was him, I was really upset. And I just can't imagine the pain, you know - the pain for his family.

FRAYER: Alexandra Soler is a Paris policewoman who was on maternity leave visiting the U.K. when she heard about her colleague's death. She told the BBC it makes her want to return to work immediately.

SOLER: I miss my job so bad, and when I see something that has happened in Paris, in my country, I just want to go back and fight terrorism and these kind of things.

FRAYER: Merabet, age 40, had been a policeman for eight years and had just qualified to become a detective. His heritage is believed to be Muslim, and the fact that he was murdered by suspected Muslim radicals has inspired an outpouring outline. One popular tweet says, (reading) I am not Charlie, I am Ahmed, the dead cop, Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture, and I died defending his right to do so.

Merebet was one of two police officers killed in Wednesday's attack. The other was 48-year-old Franck Brisolaro. He had a twin brother, Philippe.

PHILIPPE BRISOLARO: (Speaking French).

FRAYER: "Nobody can just snuff out freedom of expression and the authority of the state," says Philippe Brisolaro, who, like his slain brother, is also a Paris policeman. "I want to pay homage to all my colleagues who get up every day and take risks," he says. "Enjoy your families while you can. You never know when they'll be taken away."

Franck Brisolaro was assigned to protect Stephane Charbonnier, the editor of Charlie Hebdo magazine, who was also killed. Charbonnier's partner, Jeannette Bougrab, describes the man many people knew simply as Charb.

JEANNETTE BOUGRAB: (Speaking French).

FRAYER: "He never took vacation," she says. "He always worked. We need people that tenacious."

The attackers are said to have singled out Charb by name.

BOUGRAB: (Speaking French).

FRAYER: "What's going on in France," Bougrab exclaims. "I'm worried some staffers won't continue working for Charlie because they're terrorized. Today when you take a pen to paper in France, you can be killed."

Media organizations around the world have offered donations and office space to keep Charlie alive. The magazine has said it will publish on time next week, printing a record 1 million copies. For NPR News, I'm Lauren Frayer in Paris.

MONTAGNE: And this is MORNING EDITION from NPR News with Steve Inskeep. I'm Renee Montagne. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lauren Frayer covers India for NPR News. In June 2018, she opened a new NPR bureau in India's biggest city, its financial center, and the heart of Bollywood—Mumbai.