Breaking: Shots fired at free-speech event in Copenhagen; Update: One dead; Update: Picture of suspect released


A debate over free speech in an age of terrorism took a dark turn in Copenhagen. A volley of gunfire ripped through a cafe where an artist from the 2007 controversy over drawings of Mohammed spoke. Early reports say Lars Vilks was not injured, but at least two others were, according to one witness:

Danish media say several shots have been fired at a cafe in Copenhagen where a meeting about freedom of speech was being held, organized by Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has faced numerous threats for caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad in 2007.

The TV2 channel said Saturday there were some 30 bullet holes in the window of the Krudttoenden cafe and said at least two people were taken away on stretchers, including a uniformed police officer.

The first hint of trouble came on Twitter, where the French ambassador to Denmark — who was at the event — tweeted out that he was “still alive”:

CNN is now reporting that three police officers have been wounded by the gunfire:


CBS and AP note the title of the event was “Art, blasphemy, and the freedom of expression.” Clearly someone objects to the latter.

We’ll update as more information becomes available.

Update: One Danish journalist, Tinne Hjersing, reports that police are calling this a terrorist attack already. They are also looking for two suspects in one car:

Vilks managed to protect himself in a “cooling space,” according to Hjersing. She also reports that one person — a civilian — has died, according to a local TV news broadcast.

Update: The BBC reports that “up to 40 shots were fired outside the venue,” and that police are searching a nearby park for the suspects.

Update: More from the AP, which quotes one of the organizers in confirming Vilks was unharmed. Like the Charlie Hebdo attack, the shooters wore masks:

Helle Merete Brix, one of the event’s organizers, told The Associated Press that Vilks was at the meeting but not injured.

“I saw a masked man running past,” she said. “A couple of police officers were injured.”

“I clearly consider this as an attack on Lars Vilks,” she added, saying she was ushered away with Vilks by one of the Danish police guards that he gets whenever he is in Denmark.


And an attack on free speech, just like the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Update: The attackers spoke Danish, Hjersing reports:

Interesting, and potentially challenging for police.

Update: Copenhagen police now confirm one death, a civilian attending the event.

Update: Police now say they’ve found the getaway car, not far from the shooting. Not clear yet whether that it was abandoned, but one would assume so.  It’s a safe bet that they planned a car swap somewhere reasonably close by.

Update: Perhaps they won’t get far, though:

Update: French ambassador Francois Zimeray said the attack had the same intent as the one in Paris:

The French ambassdor to Denmark told AFP from inside the venue that shots rang out in the midst of a debate on Islam and free speech in Copenhagen.

“They fired on us from the outside. It was the same intention as [the January 7 attack on] Charlie Hebdo except they didn’t manage to get in,” Francois Zimeray said by telephone. …

“Intuitively I would say there were at least 50 gunshots, and the police here are saying 200,” he told AFP.

“Bullets went through the doors and everyone threw themselves to the floor. We managed to flee the room, and now we’re staying inside because it’s still dangerous. The attackers haven’t been caught and they could very well still be in the neighbourhood.”


Update: Police have released this picture of the shooter:

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Videos