Mohamed Merah locked himself into his apartment in a small block in the Izards neighbourhood of Toulouse, where the police tracked him down and surrounded the building. That was late on Tuesday night, at around three a.m., and a long standoff began. He told them he had shot the seven people he was suspected of killing.
Here is how investigators found him.
-On Sunday, 11 March, paratrooper Imad Ibn Ziaten identifies himself as a soldier in an Internet advert to sell his motorbike. At a meeting supposedly to close the sale, near a public gym in Montauban, north of Toulouse, he is killed by a bullet to the head. The assailant rides away on a scooter.
-On Thursday, March 15, the gunman fires at three other soldiers, who are drawing cash out of a distributor next to their barracks. This is where Abel Chennouf and Mohamed Legouad die, and Loic Liber is seriously wounded. Detectives identify the weapon as the same used to kill Imad Ibn Ziaten.
Investigators have meanwhile been checking 576 Internet addresses in connection with the advert the first victim posted. On Saturday, they notice the family name of two young men known to the police – it is their mother’s address.
They are Abdelkader Merah and Mohamed Merah. Both have been under surveillance by the intelligence services (DCRI), on and off.
-On Monday, March 19, the younger of the brothers arrives at the Ozar Hartorah Jewish school in Toulouse at morning drop-off time. He kills Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and his two sons, Arieh, 5, and Gabriel, 3, and Myriam Monsenego, aged 8.
The school’s surveillance camera tapes are studied for any recorded information. The behaviour of a helmeted figure in black yields a psychological profile similar to Mohamed Merah, who had a criminal record for violence in the past.
-On Tuesday the twentieth, it is confirmed that the Yamaha scooter used by the killer was repainted. First black, it was white at the school.
A Yamaha dealer in Toulouse tells the police that Abdelkader Merah came to ask him to deactivate the GPS tracer on the scooter. In the afternoon, the police close in.