The shooting occurred early on Wednesday in a remote area in the country’s central Puy-de-Dome region, French media reported, citing the prosecutor’s office.
The gendarmes arrived at the scene to rescue a woman who was hiding from her husband on the roof of a house.
A man opened fire at the officers when they were approaching the building. One gendarme died on the spot, while another was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the thigh.
When reinforcements arrived, the suspect set the house on fire and killed two more gendarmes in the ensuing gunfight.
A SWAT team and firefighters are at the scene.
A local mayor told BFM TV that the house had been “completely destroyed by fire” and that the operation was still ongoing. He said authorities were trying to determine whether the suspect was killed in the fire or had escaped.
In a joint statement, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and Citizenship Minister Marlene Schiappa said they were “monitoring the progress of the operation” with regional authorities and the Directorate-General of the National Gendarmerie
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