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Suspect In Copenhagen Attacks Killed, Police Say

Feb 14, 2015
Originally published on February 15, 2015 2:40 pm

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

Police in Copenhagen believe they killed the man behind two attacks that killed two people, one at cafe and another outside of a synagogue.

As we reported earlier, a gunman sprayed bullets at about 4 p.m. into a cafe Saturday, where Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has been threatened over his 2007 caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, was attending a free-speech meeting. One man was killed in the cafe attack and three police officers were wounded.

Danish police said the gunmen fired at least 40 rounds through the windows of the Krudttoenden cultural center with an automatic weapon. The BBC has obtained audio of the moment the shots were fired. You can hear it here.

Later, Danish police said the gunman, whom they did not identify, was Danish-born and 22 years of age. He was known to authorities because of his history of violence, gang activity and possession of weapons. Initially police believed there were two assailants, but no say the gunman acted alone.

Another shooting occurred outside the city's main synagogue just after midnight on Sunday. A man was shot in the head in the second attack, and later died, and two officers were wounded.

Police later shot and killed a the man they believe was behind the attacks near a train station, reports the New York Times.

Later Sunday, Jørgen Skov, a police inspector, said at a news conference in Copenhagen that the police had shot and killed the suspect after he opened fire on officers near the Norrebro station. Mr. Skov added that there was no indication other suspects were involved, but that the investigation was continuing.

Vilks, a 68-year-old artist who has regular protection from the Swedish police after death threats and at least one attempt on his life, told The Associated Press that he believed he was the intended target of the attack.

"What other motive could there be? It's possible it was inspired by Charlie Hebdo," he said.

The shootings comes just over a month after an attack at the Paris-based offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo left a dozen dead. The magazine was targeted for publishing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad.

The BBC said that Vilks "stoked controversy in 2007 by drawing pictures of the Prophet Muhammad dressed as a dog."

In a statement issued by the U.S. State Department on Sunday, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. "condemns the terrorist attacks" in Copenhagen.

"We remain in communication with Danish authorities and have offered to be of assistance in any way needed," Psaki said.

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