At least one gunman opened fire Saturday on a Copenhagen cafe, killing one man in what authorities called a likely terror attack during a free speech event organized by an artist who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad.
The shooting, which also wounded three police officers, came a month after extremists killed 12 people at a satirical newspaper in Paris that had also sparked Muslim outrage with its depictions of Muhammad.
Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has been repeatedly threatened after depicting Muhammad as a dog in 2007, organized and attended Saturday’s event but was not hit by gunfire, police said.
“I saw a masked man running past,” said Helle Merete Brix, one of the event’s organizers. “I clearly consider this as an attack on Lars Vilks.”
She and Vilks were quickly ushered away by the security detail that accompanies the artist whenever he is in Denmark.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the shooting, which took place shortly before 4 p.m. (1500 GMT, 10 a.m. EST). Denmark’s security service, PET, said the circumstances surrounding the shooting “indicate that we are talking about a terror attack.”
Danish police said the gunman used an automatic weapon to shoot through the windows of the Krudttoenden cafe, which TV footage showed were riddled with bullet holes. The gunman then fled in a carjacked Volkswagen Polo that was found later a few kilometers (miles) away, police said.
“I heard someone firing with an automatic weapons and someone shouting. Police returned the fire and I hid behind the bar. I felt surreal, like in a movie,” Niels Ivar Larsen, one of the speakers at the event, told the TV2 channel.
Police initially said there were two gunmen but later said they believed there was only one shooter, and described him as 25-30 years old with an athletic build, and carrying a black automatic weapon. They released a blurred photograph of the suspect wearing dark clothes and a scarf covering part of his face.
The Copenhagen event, titled “Art, blasphemy and freedom of expression” featured a panel discussion about freedom of speech in the wake of the Jan. 7 massacre at the Charlie Hebdo paper in Paris.
Danish police said the victim Saturday was a 40-year-old man who was inside the cafe attending the event. He has not yet been identified.
Police spokesman Joergen Skov said it was possible the gunman had planned the “same scenario” as in the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
Visiting the scene of the shooting, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said “our highest priority is to get the perpetrator arrested.”
This story was compiled with information from the Associated Press.
Danish police are searching for a lone gunman they believe fired into a Copenhagen Cultural center. The cafe was hosting a discussion on free speech with the controversial cartoonist, who’s 2007 depiction of Mohammad set off a firestorm in the Muslim world. CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reported the story from Washington, D.C.
Nationwide manhunt underway for suspect in Denmark shootingDanish police are searching for a lone gunman they believe fired into a Copenhagen Cultural center. The cafe was hosting a discussion on free speech with the controversial cartoonist, who’s 2007 depiction of Mohammad set off a firestorm in the Muslim world. CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reported the story from Washington, D.C.
A nationwide manhunt for this man….in connection with Saturday’s shooting at a Copenhagen cultural center.
“Denmark has been hit by a very violent act, and we feel certain it was politically motivated and therefore a terror attack,” Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said.
Police say said the gunman used an automatic weapon to shoot through the windows of the Danish cultural center, killing one man and wounding three police officers. The center was hosting a discussion on freedom of speech.
Ukrainian Feminist Inna Shevchenko was speaking at the event, when the shots began.
“When we heard shots at first, no one really reacted because let’s be honest, we didn’t want to accept it…we thought it was maybe fireworks…and then in some seconds, we heard that the shots were not stopping. It was kind of in a row a lot of shots at the same time…and it seemed like there was fire back and when it became so loud that it was obvious it was happening behind the door, of the room where we were sitting, people started to run.” – Inna Shevchenko
Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks was also inside the room. Vilks became infamous after depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a dog back in 2007. He’s received numerous threats ever since.
Vilks told the Associated Press by telephone he believes HE was the intended target, saying quote: “What other motive could there be..” He says his bodyguards got him away safely.
Shevchenko said the man who was killed was not in the room where the panel was held — at the time.
“The reason why people from the audience and us the speakers are alive is in fact because there was police before and police were protecting the place…and we were, the panel took place in the room that didn’t have windows and the doors were locked…this is why the targets for terrorists became policeman who were protecting the room where the panel debate took place.”
CCTV America interviewed Dennis Brink for more insight into the Copenhagen cafe shooting. Brink was attending the event as the shooting took place.
A witness\' firsthand account of the Copenhagen shootingCCTV America interviewed Dennis Brink for more insight into the Copenhagen cafe shooting. Brink was attending the event as the shooting took place.
CCTV America interviewed Inna Shevchenko on the Copenhagen attack. Shevchenko was also attending the event in Copenhagen at the time of the shooting. She has also been very active in describing her experience on social media.
A witness takes to social media to describe Copenhagen attackCCTV America also interviewed Inna Shevchenko on the Copenhagen attack. Shevchenko was also attending the event in Copenhagen at the time of the shooting. She has also been very active in describing her experience on social media.
Check out Inna’s Twitter feed HERE: