Paris police are warning people to avoid the area around the French capital's grand Champs-Elysees after reports that two police officers were shot Thursday, with one dying.
A man emerged from the auto and opened fire on the van with an "automatic weapon", killing one officer instantly, he said.
Many police vehicles can be seen on the avenue that passes numerous city's most iconic landmarks. People have been told to say away from the area, which includes the shopping district popular with tourists.
French police tweeted, "Police intervention underway in the area of the #ChampsElysees avoid the sector and follow the instructions of the police forces".
France has lived under a state of emergency since 2015 and has suffered a spate of Islamist militant attacks that have killed more than 230 people in the past two years.
The shooting comes just a few days before France's presidential election and just two hours after a police lockdown on Rue de Rivoli - a nearby street in the heart of the city. A man emerged from the auto and opened fire on the van with an "automatic weapon", he said.
US President Donald Trump said the shooting resembled recent terrorist attacks.
According to BFMTV's sources, the killer was known to the security services and had talked of wanting to kill police officers on the Telegram messaging service.
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"I can tell you that, according to the initial findings, police were targeted directly", Brandet said in a statement.
Earlier this week, two men were arrested in Marseille whom police said had been planning an attack ahead of the election.
In this image made from video, police attend the scene after an incident on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, Thursday April 20, 2017. "It just never ends".
The Champs-Elysees is a long avenue where the Arc de Triomphe is located, and is known for its high end shops, restaurants and theaters.
A French television station hosting a televised event with the 11 candidates running for president briefly interrupted its broadcast to report the shootings.
After the loud bangs, she says: 'A sudden noise where we were was mistaken for gunfire and had police shouting us off the street.
The first round of the presidential race is will take place on on Sunday and the two top contenders will advance to a run-off on May 7. The Tunisian-born French citizen was killed by law enforcement.