French council gunman kills himself

The French man who shot to death eight members of a city council in suburban Paris this week killed himself today by jumping out a window, police said.

Richard Durn, 33, killed himself while in police custody, jumping from an upper story window of police headquarters in Paris, authorities said.

Witnesses told French radio that he writhed on the ground before dying.

LCI television speculated that Durn killed himself during a moment of inattention by the police guarding him. His death caused another shock to a country already reeling from the horrifying rampage a day earlier.

He had been in police custody since killing eight members of the city council of Nanterre on Wednesday morning, injuring 19 others.

During a day of interrogation, Durn told police he often "thought about killing someone and killing himself afterward."

After the shooting spree, Nanterre Mayor Jacqueline Fraysse said the attacker yelled out, "Kill me, kill me" as he was subdued in the council chamber in the Paris suburb.

France 2 television had reported that police found a 13-page letter at the man's home recounting a failed life, saying he was disgusted with himself and Nanterre and wanted police to kill him.

Durn's 65-year-old mother, Stephanie, said her son began psychotherapy in 1990, asking the therapist to "Help me to die."

President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Lionel Jospin - both contenders in the presidential election less than a month away - made pre-dawn visits to the scene. Jospin said it was "apparently a case of furious dementia."

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