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Paris: A French policeman who shot and killed a fellow officer at police headquarters in Paris was fooling around with his service weapon when it went off, a police source told AFP on Monday.

The accident took place on Sunday at the new headquarters of the criminal police in the northwest of the capital.

The police source said the officer who fired the shot was playing with his gun near the entrance to the building when it went off, hitting his colleague in the head.

He has been suspended and taken into custody, judicial and police sources said.

A spokesman for the SCPN police union, Jean-Paul Megret, told France Info radio that the two officers had been practising drawing their weapons, "either playfully or out of stupidity".

Noting that such exercises were strictly restricted to the shooting range, he said it was "all the more tragic given that they were just beginning their careers".

The dead officer, who was in her twenties, was part of a unit that provided security at the adjacent Palace of Justice, France Info reported.

A police oversight body is investigating the shooting.