NEWS

Lyon man questioned by police over Greek priest shooting

lyon-man-questioned-by-police-over-greek-priest-shooting

A Greek Orthodox parishioner who was recently caught on video scuffling with a Lyon priest who was shot outside his church and hospitalized over the weekend says local police raided his home on Monday.

The parishioner, Jean-Michel Dhimoila, said police collected documents at his home and took him in for questioning, though not as a suspect.

Dhimoila called an Associated Press reporter from a police station in southern Lyon after being taken to a police station for questioning about the Saturday shooting of Rev. Nikolaos Kakavelakis with a sawed-off shotgun, prompting a manhunt after the assailant who fled the scene.

The priest is in critical condition in a hospital.

Kakavelakis had finished his tenure about a month ago, and had been scheduled to return soon to Greece after his time working at the Lyon church, community leaders have said.

Dhimoila confirmed he had been involved in a scuffle caught on video in which he was seen being expelled from a church door, then trying to re-enter as the priest kicked at him and slammed the door shut. Dhimoila said he didn't recall exactly when the incident took place.

From a police station on rue Marius Berliet in southern Lyon, Dhimoila said he had "no idea" who was behind the shooting, but knew a lot about the Greek Orthodox community in Lyon.

Dhimoila said police who entered his home at around 8 a.m. on Monday scooped up the documentation he had assembled about Kakavelakis.

On Sunday, police released an initial suspect and widened a search for the gunman who critically wounded the priest as he closed the door to his official residence at a church in the city of Lyon.

Dhimoila runs a blog whose title in French translates as "Friends of the Hellenic community of Lyon."

The motive for the shooting remains unclear. Anti-terrorism prosecutors are not investigating the case, and the Lyon prosecutor opened an attempted murder investigation.

It came amid tensions within the Greek Orthodox community in Lyon. [AP]