News / Europe

    Police Release Details on Suspected Gunman in Copenhagen Attacks

    • Armed police works in a cordoned off area in a street near Norrebro Station following shootings in Copenhagen, Denmark, Feb. 15, 2015.
    • Danish police conduct a search at an apartment at Mjoelnerparken at Norrebro in connection with Saturday's shootings, Feb. 15, 2015.
    • Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt reacts during a news conference on the shootings Saturday in Copenhagen, Feb. 15, 2015.
    • A woman talks to police officers in front of the synagogue in Krystalgade in Copenhagen, Feb. 15, 2015.
    • Police work in a cordoned off area in a street near Norrebro Station following shootings in Copenhagen, Feb. 15, 2015.
    • A woman lights a candle in front of the synagogue in Krystalgade in Copenhagen, Feb. 15, 2015.
    VOA News

    Danish police shot and killed a man early Sunday suspected in the slayings of two people in Copenhagen since Saturday, in what the country's prime minister calls a "cynical act of terror against Denmark."

    Authorities said the Denmark-born 22-year-old alleged gunman was fatally shot after he opened fire on officers near a train station.

    His previous criminal record included violence and weapons offenses, according to police.

    map locating Krudttonden , copenhagen, denmarkmap locating Krudttonden , copenhagen, denmark
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    map locating Krudttonden , copenhagen, denmark
    map locating Krudttonden , copenhagen, denmark

    Officials said no evidence suggests other gunmen were involved in the shootings, one at a free-speech event and the other outside a Copenhagen synagogue.

    Police investigator Joegen Skov said Sunday, "We are still faced with a huge investigation. We need to make sure that our theory is in fact correct.

    "A number of things indicate that we did get the right man, but we still have to investigate whether he acted alone, but at the moment there is nothing to suggest that any other perpetrators were involved," Skov said.

    In the first attack, a gunman with an automatic weapon killed one person and wounded three police officers at a cafe. Danish media identified the deceased as film director Finn Norgaard, 55.

    In Profile: Lars Vilks

    1946: Born in Sweden

    2007: Cartoons of Prophet Muhammad as a dog published, placed under police protection; al-Qaida issues $100,000 bounty

    2010: Seven Irish citizens arrested for plot to kill Vilks, attacked at Swedish college for showing film that depicts Prophet Muhammad entering a gay bar

    2011: Three Swedes arrested for plot to kill Vilks

    2013: al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula lists Vilks as one of its most wanted

    2014: American nicknamed "Jihad Jane" sentenced to 10 years for plot to kill Vilks

    2015: Attack at Copenhagen event organized by Vilks

    The free-speech event was also attended by Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who is known for provocative drawings, including a 2007 cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad that led to threats against the 68 year old.

    The French ambassador to Denmark, Francois Zimeray, also attended the discussion. Both were unharmed in the shooting.

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the deadly attacks.

    The United States condemned the attack at the cafe, calling it deplorable.

    We remain in communication with Danish authorities and have offered to be of assistance in any way needed," State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

    Hours later, volunteer Dan Uzan was guarding a bat mitzvah ceremony when he was killed and two police officers wounded in the synagogue shooting.

    Vows to protect Jewish community

    Standing in front of the temple, Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt offered condolences on Sunday.

    "Our thoughts go to the whole of the Jewish community today. They belong in Denmark, they are strong part of our community. And we will do everything we can to protect the Jewish community in our country," Thorning-Schmidt said.

    In light of the violence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Jewish people in Europe to immigrate to Israel, as he did following a deadly attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris last month.

    In commenting on the shootings, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement released Sunday, “I strongly condemn the shootings in Copenhagen. These are unacceptable attacks on our open, free and democratic societies and on the Jewishh community in Denmark.

    "We stand together with our ally Denmark against terror," the statement read.

    Zimeray was expected to talk about the impact of last month's attacks in France on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and the kosher grocery.

    Those earlier attacks by Muslim extremists left 20 people dead, including the attackers. The French magazine was known for mocking religion and had published several cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. 

    Speaking from the Danish capital on Sunday, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve observed the similar reactions in both countries.

    "I saw this morning the same sadness I saw in the terrified gaze of Parisians in the month of January (following Paris shootings). The same sadness, the same fright, the same dignity, the same contemplation and the same sorrow," Cazeneuve said at a news conference.

    Threats and attacks against cartoonists whose work has angered Muslims began with the publication of 12 editorial cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005. The paper said the cartoons, most of which depicted  the Prophet Muhammad, were part of an attempt to contribute to the debate about criticism of Islam and self-censorship.

    The cartoons eventually led to protests around the world, including violent demonstrations and riots in some Muslim countries.

    Cartoons reprinted

    Between October 2005 and early January 2006, examples of the cartoons were reprinted in major European newspapers from the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, Romania, and Switzerland. After major international protests, they were re-published around the globe, but primarily in continental Europe.

    Numerous violent plots related to the cartoons have been discovered in the years since.

    Artists other than cartoonists have also been the targets of Muslim ire for their work. British-Indian author Salman Rushdie's novel Satanic Verses led to death threats made against him, including a fatwa calling for his assassination issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, in 1989.

    Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was killed in November 2004 by a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim angered by Van Gogh's short film Submission, which criticized the treatment of women in Islam.

    In neighboring Germany on Sunday, a carnival parade was canceled on short notice in the town of Braunschweig do to what authorities called a "concrete" threat of an Islamist attack.

    Police did not reveal the nature of the threat.

    European Union countries want to boost security and intelligence sharing amid mounting fears of radical Islam and more attacks to come. But Anne Giudicelli, founder of Paris analysis group Terr(o)risc, said these measures only address part of the problem. 

    "There is another answer to provide that is more political and cultural ... (whether) Islam (is) compatible with European democracy and so on…I feel that is not the right debate," Giudicelli said.

    "The debate is: How we can produce such people who are our children? And how it comes that they want to kill people who are their own citizens?" she asked.

    Lisa Bryant contributed to this report from Paris.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 3
        Next 
    by: jobardu from: Washington DC
    February 16, 2015 12:23 PM
    The name and religious affiliation of the terrorist attacker isn't published in the article. As President Obama has instructed us, people here in Washington are waiting with baited breath to find out whether the shooter was a renegade medieval European Christian crusader, or a Muslim terrorist. I hope the author can clear that up for us.

    Also, since the The Scandinavian branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir declared that the Danes, among others (guess who, wink, wink!) were to blame, can the author what the Danish people plan to do to atone for the crime against Islam?

    by: frenchk02 from: Hanceville, Al. 35077
    February 15, 2015 2:17 PM
    Sounds like a GOP format.

    by: Tara Fukme from: LA
    February 15, 2015 2:03 PM
    Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful, and murder, respectable.

    by: ALPHE from: USA
    February 15, 2015 1:28 PM
    I see Salman Rushdie was mentioned in this article to provide context, circa 1989. Wonder why the 2011 Breivik massacre in nearby Norway went unmentioned? Nearly 100 persons were killed by a solo gunman who also had some screwed-up religio-culture issues. Oy!
    In Response

    by: Alphonse
    February 16, 2015 10:27 AM
    Wouldn't be sensationalist enough. Selective coverage seems to be forte of VOA.

    by: Bruce Walberg from: USA
    February 15, 2015 1:17 PM
    How long will it take for humans to get over the death cult of Gods?
    Anyone?
    In Response

    by: fixento from: PA
    February 16, 2015 1:06 PM
    The same amount of time for humans to get over death for jealousy, anger, money, drugs, crime, politics, etc. etc. Does this bust your little atheist bubble that religion is responsible? Look up WW I, WW II, Korean Police Action etc., religion had nothing to doe with it. Obama played a media and the public when he mentioned the crusades knowing the majority are dumber then a box of rocks about the crusades. During the centuries the Muslims invaded and attempt to convert the classic western European nations there were about 525 battles. The crusades 25 battles were to Christians defending the holy land from the Muslims invasion. If you don't believe it, research it.
    In Response

    by: infideli from: whitehouse,texas
    February 15, 2015 2:56 PM
    Why do you insult two thirds or the planet? Are you just a miserable person?

    by: p from: o
    February 15, 2015 12:58 PM
    Islam is the problem, and Muslims are Islam. Whatever they say, they are a part of this terror. That Mohammed recommends as a method to force Islam on non-Muslims. The only way to protect ourselves is to seal the borders and repatriate Muslims back to their beloved Muslim countries.

    by: Robert from: colorado
    February 15, 2015 12:24 PM
    Why does the Danish government and this article fall all over itself to avoid saying this is a terrorist act, perpetrated by a Muslim against those who oppose/insult the prophet? Why do no Muslim leaders speak out against these acts?
    In Response

    by: Jones
    February 16, 2015 10:26 AM
    Because it was Danish government fault for allowing the event that danger lives of people and it failed protect its civilians. Scapegoating get you so far, redneck.

    by: david atherton from: england
    February 15, 2015 12:07 PM
    Nothing these killers can do will stop free societys fron critisizing societies which are not or mistreat peoole namely women and children

    by: JSS1 from: California
    February 15, 2015 11:39 AM
    What remains unclear from the reporting is why several police officers were wounded in the attacks but the terrorist escaped unharmed. Were the officers armed? Were they trained?
    If they had weapons, did they attempt to use them?
    In Response

    by: Jimmy
    February 16, 2015 10:29 AM
    The false flag kind, I feel sorry for anyone who believe this. This guy should have been in watchlist, government can't be this incompetent.

    by: Anand from: Chennai
    February 15, 2015 10:21 AM
    I have not read the Quran and I don't intend to. Why should I heed what it says about not drawing pictures of the Prophet? How am I even expected to know that? BTW, why do Muslims look at it?
    In Response

    by: Bubba Trace
    February 15, 2015 12:52 PM
    Is it Holier to murder and slaughter humans in the name of your god or in the name of your country?

    Killing is considered a 'Malum in se' across the planet, and in all societies. And, all would say - 'by any name: God is good.' So would be Allah.

    But the Americans kill in the name of the U.S.A. - their country. The Muslims kill in the name of their god, Allah.

    Again, which is holier?



    In Response

    by: Bubba Trace
    February 15, 2015 12:31 PM
    Mohamed was as much a prophet as Genghis Khan - who also led an army of conquest murdering and threatening anyone heard not to agree with him ( Mohamed or Khan ).

    You'd be better off studying the tactics of the U.S. General Patton or General Schwarzkopf - both more holy than Mohamed or Genghis Khan.
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