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All French shooting victims shot in the head at close range, prosecutor says

Schools throughout France held a moment of silence in memory of the four killed in the Toulouse school shooting. Meanwhile, French police have launched a massive manhunt for the killer. ITN's Martin Geissler reports.

TOULOUSE, France -- A prosecutor said that all seven victims of a recent spate of shootings in southwest France -- three soldiers and four at a Jewish school -- were killed with bullets to the head, shot at such close range that the gunfire burned the skin.

All three attacks were carried out by a man on a powerful motorcycle who was wearing a helmet and carrying a Colt 45, Prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters in Paris. But he said other clues to the killer's identify were scarce.


"We are confronted with an individual extremely determined in his actions, an armed individual who acts always with the same modus operandi," Molins said, "in cold blood ... with premeditated actions."

Molins also noted that the attacks had occurred every four days, but said he could not address security arrangements that might be inplace Friday -- the fourth day after the attack on the Jewish school.

The prosecutor also downplayed an earlier report by Interior Minister Claude Gueant that the shooter had a camera around his neck and could have been filming the attack, saying it was still only a hypothesis.

Earlier, Gueant had said the attacker was "wearing around his neck an apparatus" that could be used to film and post video online. He said that gave investigators new clues to the killer's "profile," though he admitted that they don't appear to close to an arrest.

Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images

People cry and react before the funeral convoy carrying the coffins leaves the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school after a funeral ceremony, Tuesday.

'Very cold'
Gueant described the suspect as "someone very cold, very determined, very much a master of his movements, and by consequence, very cruel."

Asked whether the gunman recorded the scene Monday morning, Gueant responded, "We can imagine that." But he added that authorities have not yet found any images of the killings online.

Meanwhile, hundreds of police combed southern France for the killer -- also suspected of shooting dead three French soldiers -- and NBC News reported that local police were to be issued with guns temporarily. Normally only national police carry weapons.

French schools held a minute's silence at 11 a.m. local time (6 a.m. ET) to remember the victims. Every school in the Toulouse region was also under guard Tuesday.

BBC News also reported that France had declared its top "scarlet" terror alert level for the first time.

Miriam, 8, chased down, killed
The victims at the Ozar Hatorah school were 30-year old Hebrew teacher Jonathan Sandler, his two children, Arye, 6, and Gabriel, 3; and Miriam Monsonego, 8, the daughter of the school principal,  Toulouse prosecutor Michel Valet said.

The gunman chased Miriam into the concrete courtyard, stopping her by her hair, The New York Times reported. His gun jammed, but still holding her, he switched weapons and shot her in the head.

President Nicolas Sarkozy said the killings at the school and those of the soldiers, one of Caribbean and two of Muslim origin, appeared to be motivated by racism.

"In attacking Jewish teachers and children, there seems to be an obvious anti-Semitic motivation," he said late on Monday. "With the soldiers ... one can imagine that the bloodthirsty madness was linked to racism."

Manhunt for 'most wanted man in France'

Sarkozy was to meet with members of France's Jewish and Muslim community. France has the largest population of Jews and Muslims in western Europe.

Police had not named a suspect but said they were searching the city of around one million for a man they believed could be a trained marksman.

Neo-Nazi ex-soldier
Police were looking into the possibility that the gunman could be one of three soldiers dismissed from the army in 2008 for neo-Nazi activities, French magazine Le Point reported.

NBC News reported that the black scooter used by the gunman at the school had been traced to a theft on March 6 and that video surveillance cameras at the school had picked up the license plate number.

Hadrei Haredim via Getty Images

Jonathan Sandler, (second from left) his two children, Arye, 6, (left) and Gabriel, 3, (second from right) are pictured in this undated handout image. All three were killed in Monday's shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France.

It was the most deadly anti-Semitic attack on French soil in nearly 30 years. In August, 1982, six people were killed in a combined grenade and gun attack at the Goldenberg restaurant in Paris' Marais Jewish district.

As night fell Monday, students of the Ozar Hatorah Hebrew school gathered with the bodies of the victims for an all-night vigil.

Windows were shuttered at the school, a five-floor brick building in a leafy residential neighborhood. The wall near the front gate bore bullet marks, and one window was shattered.

The Associated Press, NBC News and Reuters contributed to this report.

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