Deadly shootings rock Copenhagen at free speech event

Inter4Copenhagen - A shooting at a free speech event featuring an artist who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad and a second shooting hours later outside a synagogue left two dead and five police officers wounded in Copenhagen, stirring fears that another terror spree was underway in a European capital a month after 17 people were killed in Paris attacks.

Police couldn’t say whether the shootings at a cultural centre on Saturday afternoon and in front of the synagogue early yesterday were connected, but didn’t rule it out. In both shootings, the gunman got away.

“We are looking for two perpetrators,” police spokesman Allan Wadsworth-Hansen said.

Two hours later, police announced they had shot and killed a man who shot at them near a train station and were investigating whether he could be linked to the two shootings. The police statement posted online says the shooting occurred after they had put an address near the train station under observation. The statement said no police officers were wounded.

The first shooting happened shortly before 16:00 on Saturday. Danish police said the gunman used an automatic weapon to shoot through the windows of the Krudttoenden cultural center during a panel discussion on freedom of expression following the Paris attacks. A 55-year-old man attending the event was killed, while three police officers were wounded. Two belonged to the Danish security service PET, which said the circumstances surrounding the shooting “indicate that we are talking about a terror attack.”

The gunman then fled in a carjacked Volkswagen Polo that was found later a few kilometres away, police said.

Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist who has faced numerous death threats for caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad, was one of the main speakers at the event, titled

“Art, blasphemy and freedom of expression.” He was whisked away by his bodyguards unharmed as the shooting began.

Vilks, 68, later said he believed he was the intended target of the shooting. - AP

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