3 dead, 12 injured after shooting near Christmas Market in France

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Strasbourg, France (NBC NEWS) -- Three people are dead and 12 wounded from a shooting Tuesday night in the French city of Strasbourg, the French interior minister said early Wednesday.

Authorities meanwhile were continuing to search for the suspect who is on a terrorist watch list and whose home police had raided earlier in the day in a burglary probe.

The shooting took place shortly before 8 p.m. near a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, that attracts millions of tourists every year. Strasbourg is on the German border.

The suspect fled and engaged in a firefight with police between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. local time, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner. He said the suspect has a record in France and Germany for common crimes.

A prosecutor said earlier that officers are searching for the suspect for alleged criminal association with a terrorist group and attempted assassination.

Prior to the shooting Tuesday, police raided the suspect's home in connection to a burglary probe. The suspect wasn't there but resurfaced that night at the perimeter of the Christmas market when shots rang out, police said.

Of the 12 wounded, six have serious injuries.

France's counterterrorism unit has opened an investigation into the shooting incident, a prosecutor told NBC News.

Morten Løkkegaard, a Danish politician and member of the European Parliament, which has one of its three locations in Strasbourg, told Euronews that he was on lockdown inside the Parliament building.

"The whole Parliament has been locked while the police are investigating this, so I think we will spend some hours here," Løkkegaard said. "Hundreds of people are still working in the Parliament at this time of the day."

Axel Schouteten, manager of a McDonald's in Place Kieber, said he was sheltering in place inside the restaurant with approximately 80 people, including families and children.

"I was in the back of the restaurant when I heard gunshots. I think it was the sound of an automatic weapon. There was a big movement of the crowd and then a few minutes later, I closed the doors, and saw three bodies on the ground," he said, adding that he didn't know if the people he saw were dead or alive.