A Paris cop killed in Wednesday's attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has drawn special attention on social media, after he was reported by local media to be a Muslim police officer.
Ahmed Merabet was one of 12 killed in the attack on the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo by the gunmen, French authorities said. Another officer protecting the magazine's editor was also killed.
Merabet served in a police station in the eleventh arrondissment of Paris and was also a Muslim, according to the newspaper Le Figaro and other local reports.
A spokesman for the Paris Police Department told ABC News that Merabet had been on the force for at least three years, but declined to give more information about the officer because his family requested no additional information be released to the press.
After news broke that Merabet was reportedly a Muslim, supporters took to social media using the hashtag #JeSuisAhmed, or "I am Ahmed," to show their support for the officer.
Many using the hashtag pointed out that the officer died trying to protect the magazine that had made cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
The hashtag reflects another hashtag, #JeSuisCharlie, which sprung up immediately after the shooting.
"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." Voltaire #JeSuisAhmed
- Adalia Conti (@AJ_Conti) January 8, 2015I will die protecting your right to ridicule my faith. #JeSuisAhmed
- Hussain Sadiq (@HussainSadiqGBR) January 8, 2015Rocco Contento, a spokesperson for a French police union, told the New York Times that Merabet's family was from North Africa before emigrating to Paris and he did not know if the officer was still a practicing Muslim.
Merabet was 41, according to Le Figaro, and was the last victim to be killed as the gunmen ran out of the Charlie Hebdo offices. After initially being wounded, Merabet fell to the sidewalk.
Video of the scene showed Merabet as he appeared to hold his hands up as one of the gun men approached him. The gunmen then shot and killed Merabet at point-blank range.
Cop Killed in Paris Attack Sparks #JeSuisAhmed Hashtag