Apparently he got shot in the head, jumped out a window, kept firing, and was then found dead: I fully expect that the coroner will rule the whole thing a suicide. I am given to understand that your average European terrorist – and this guy appears to qualify – is remarkably prone to ending it all by shooting themselves in the head, multiple times. How did Tom Clancy rather infamously put it once, again? Something like “A real death-grip on the gun.”
As you might imagine, I have very little sympathy for a jihadi mass murderer… and, frankly, there’s a good rule about messing with French counter-terrorist organizations: don’t. Police or military, those guys are legitimately hard-edged tough SOBs who operate as if the laws don’t apply to them, mostly because those laws effectively don’t. The only thing keeping Merah alive was probably the concern that he might have had useful counter-terrorist info. Based on circumstances, I’m going to guess that the consensus was that he did not. Or at least that the information would have been less useful in the long run than would be the spectacle of the French squashing a bug with a sledgehammer.
A sledgehammer made of explosives.