More than 40 Boone High School students and chaperones traveling in Paris are safe, hours after a driver deliberately rammed his vehicle into into a police convoy.
- 43 Boone students, adults safe, says travel group leader
- Man dies in explosion after driving car into police vehicle
- While attack appeared deliberate, motives are unknown
"Everyone is just fine," assured Brook Smith from Paris, who is one of the group leaders with Education First Tours, which organized the trip. Smith said the group was in a different part of Paris from where the attacked happened.
Smith said he saw a police van heading toward the Champs-Elysees shopping district, where earlier in the day, a man rammed a car with explosives into a police vehicle, French officials stated.
The Paris police department said no bystanders were injured in the attack, but it was unclear why the man drove into a police vehicle other than to say the incident was deliberate.
Two police officials told the Associated Press that a handgun was found on the driver, who they said was badly burned after the vehicle exploded. They identified the driver as a 31-year-old man from the Paris suburb of Argenteuil who had an “S″ file, meaning he was flagged for links to extremism.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal details of the incident, the second this year on the city’s most famous avenue, which is popular with tourists from around the world.
An attacker defending the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terror group shot and killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees in April, days before a presidential election.
France is under a state of emergency after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks.
While having dinner in the City of Lights, Smith told News 13 in a phone interview that the Orange County high school was not involved with the trip and explained that the tour agency provides an educational experience for students to see different cultures.
Smith, who has been a group leader for five years with his wife, Brooke, for Education First Tours, said that there are 43 adults and students on the 13-day European trip. They were planning to tour more of Paris later Monday evening and will make their return trip home Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.