The attacker, named as Khamzat Azimov, 20, struck in one of the most popular areas of the city, near the celebrated opera house and theatres, before before being shot dead by police in Paris.
Police said he was previously interviewed because of his contacts , not his behaviour, and they insisted he had shown no signs of extremism in his everyday life or on social media.
Azimov, was listed as a person susceptible to Islamic radicalisation, but” more for the company he keeps than for his own behaviour, his actions or his opinions”, according to a report in Le Figaro.
French police took the man’s parents into custody on Sunday for questioning about his links to jihadists in Syria and searched the family home in the 18 th arrondissement in the north of Paris. One of Azimov’s friends from Strasbourg, where he grew up, was also reportedly detained for questioning.
Azimov struck at random in the busy region of restaurants and theatres near Paris’s Opera Garnier in the city’s second arrondissement, at about 8.50 pm local time.
Witnesses told Azimov, who was born in Chechnya, but procured French nationality in 2010 when his mother was naturalised, arrived at the scene of the attack by metro. He was dressed in black, and carrying a knife.
Police were quick to arrive at the scene as he strolled along rue Monsigny, a one-way street, apparently looking for victims. Panicked diners fled terraces or took refuge under tables inside restaurants.
Officers, praised for their sangfroid, reportedly tried to halt him with a stun-gun, but when he continued to threaten them shot him dead.
Witnesses told Azimov screamed:” Go ahead. Shoot. I’m going to get you .”