Police officers in Paris, France
Police officers in Paris, FranceiStock

A French man suspected of killing three people in a racist attack at a Kurdish cultural center in Paris on Friday has been transferred to a psychiatric unit, prosecutors said on Saturday.

Prosecutors said the 69-year-old white suspect had been removed from custody for health reasons and taken to a police psychiatric facility, according to the AFP news agency.

Three people were wounded in the attack that the suspect told investigators was attributable to his being "racist", a source close to the case said.

The Paris prosecutor said a doctor examined the suspect's health on Saturday afternoon and deemed it "not compatible with the measure of custody".

The man's custody was lifted and he was taken to a police psychiatric unit pending an appearance before an investigation judge as the probe continues, the prosecutor added.

Officials said that the suspect had recently been released after being in custody while facing trial for attacking a migrant camp with a saber in 2021 in Paris.

On Friday night, French riot police used teargas against a surging crowd who were trying to gain access to the crime scene. The angry protesters were throwing projectiles at police and overturning garbage cans and restaurant tables. At least one car was vandalized.

The riots resumed on Saturday. Cars were overturned, at least one vehicle was burned, shop windows were damaged and small fires were set alight near Republic Square, a traditional venue for demonstrations where Kurds earlier held a peaceful protest.

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the shooting attack and said, "The Kurds of France have been the target of a heinous attack in the heart of Paris. Our thoughts are with the victims, the people who are struggling to live, their families and loved ones."