2 Dead, 5 Wounded in Copenhagen Shootings

2 Dead, 5 Wounded in Copenhagen Shootings2 Dead, 5 Wounded in Copenhagen Shootings

Danish police shot and killed a man early Sunday suspected of carrying out shooting attacks at a free speech event and then at a Copenhagen synagogue in Denmark, killing two men. Five police officers were also wounded in the attacks.

One man died in the first shooting, when a man opened fire on a panel discussion at a cafe on Saturday evening, killing a 55-year-old man and injuring three police officers.

Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, whose controversial Anti-Islam cartoons in 2007 sparked protests, was attending the event at the cultural center, as were other high-profile figures, including France’s ambassador to Denmark, Francois Zimeray.

In the second accident, a young Jewish man was fatally shot in the head outside of the city’s main synagogue in the early hours of Sunday morning, DW reported.

Authorities subsequently evacuated the nearby Noerreport train station and train services into it were halted and cordoned off roads as part of a manhunt for the assailant, who had fled on foot. Police shot dead the suspect after he opened fire on them. Two police officers were injured in the brief standoff.

Copenhagen police confirmed on Sunday morning that they believed the man shot dead in relation to the two fatal attacks had been the shooter behind both.

“We assumed that it’s the same culprit behind both incidents, and we also assume that the culprit that was shot by the police task force [at] Norreport station is the person behind both of these assassinations,” Chief police inspector Torben Molgaard said.

No information has been released about the deceased suspect. Prior to his death, authorities had said that they were looking for a suspect between 25 and 30 years of age.

According to the police, the preliminary investigations said nothing suggested that there were other gunmen involved in the shootings.

  Motivated Attack

Police said early on Sunday that they considered Vilks, 68, to have been the target.

He escaped unharmed after a bodyguard shoved him into the cafe kitchen when the gunfire erupted around 4 p.m.

“We feel certain now that it was a politically motivated attack, and thereby it was a terrorist attack,” Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt told journalists.

Hours later, during the night, shots were fired at a synagogue in another part of the city, about a half hour’s walk away from the cafe. A man was shot in the head, and was later confirmed to have died. Two police officers were wounded.

Vilks had lived under the protection of Swedish police since 2010. He had faced several attempted attacks and death threats following his controversial satirical cartoons.

A Pennsylvania woman last year got a 10-year prison term for a plot to kill Vilks. In 2010, two brothers tried to burn down his house in southern Sweden and were imprisoned for attempted arson.

The first shooting bore similarities to an assault in Paris in January on the office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

In Paris on January 17, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi burst into the office of the magazine and opened fire, killing 12 people. In all, 17 people were killed over three days of violence in France.