Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# Copenhagen
"Bullets went through the doors and everyone threw themselves to the floor"
Yesterday, a gunman sprayed bullets at a cultural centre where a controversial cartoonist was speaking.

Updated 4pm

Denmark Shots AP This photo, provided by Rasmus Thau Riddersh, shows the scene near a synagogue where police reported a shooting in downtown Copenhagen, Denmark AP

COPENHAGEN POLICE SAID early this morning they had shot a man dead hours after fatal gun attacks targeting the Danish capital’s main synagogue and a debate on Islam and free speech.

Police believe the man shot dead was responsible for two fatal attacks in the Danish capital.

The man believed to be behind the assaults was shot dead after he opened fire on police officers near a rail station, a spokesman said, without giving details about his identity

One of the dead in yesterday’s attacks was a Jewish man, killed in an attack outside a synagogue.

Internet café raid

Armed Danish police raided an Internet cafe today in a major operation in Copenhagen near the spot where officers killed the suspected gunman, local media said.

TV2, which reported from the scene, showed footage of armed officers in dark uniforms outside the Internet cafe and said at least two people had been taken away by police.

“It’s part of our investigation,” a police official told broadcaster DR.

The swoop came hours after police told reporters they were carrying out searches in several parts of the Danish capital.

Call to Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged European Jews to move to Israel, saying: ”Israel is your home. We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe.”

This repeated a similar call made after bloody attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris last month that killed 17 people, including four Jews.


They said video surveillance indicated the man was behind both killings, one which took place at a panel discussion about Islam and free speech, and the other outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue.

Lars Vilks, the Swedish cartoonist whose controversial caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed sparked worldwide protests in 2007, had been among the speakers at the Krudttoenden cultural centre when a man opened fire yesterday.

Denmark Shots AP This photo, provided by Sebastian Zepeda, shows the scene near the synagogue AP

A 55-year-old civilian was killed when the gunman sprayed bullets at the cultural centre, while a young Jewish man was gunned down outside the synagogue in central Copenhagen early this morning.

Five police officers were wounded in the two attacks.

A massive police manhunt was launched after the gunman fled the scene following both shootings.

Copenhagen shooting ASSOCIATED PRESS In this photo dated Saturday Feb. 14, 2015, issued by Copenhagen Police believed to show the suspect in a shooting at a freedom of speech event in Copenhagen, in a photo taken from a street camera near to where the getaway car was later found dumped ASSOCIATED PRESS

Early today, police said they had shot and killed a man after he fired at officers in the inner-city neighbourhood of Noerrebro, where police had been keeping an address under observation.

Danish Prime Minister Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt described the assault on the free speech seminar as “a terrorist attack”, while the United States branded it “deplorable”.

Denmark Shots AP AP

Tight security in Copenhagen

Police spokesman Allan Teddy Wadsworth-Hansen had declined to say earlier Sunday whether detectives were looking for the same gunman for both attacks.

“We simply don’t know that and it’s too early to comment on at the moment,” he told a press conference.

He confirmed that the person killed in the second incident had been immediately outside the synagogue.

Denmark Shooting AP A press conference, at Politigaarden AP

Michael Gelvan, chairman of the Nordic Jewish Security Council, told AFP the victim was a young Jewish man who had been providing security for a ceremony at the temple.

Danish police had released a photo of the suspect in the cultural centre attack, wearing a dark jacket and a maroon balaclava and carrying a black bag.

They described him as 25-30 years old and around 1.85 metres (six feet) tall, with an athletic build.

DENMARK SHOOTING Janus Engel The scene outside the Copenhagen cafe, with bullet marked window, where a gunman opened fire Janus Engel

Police said the gunman who fled the scene of the second shooting had been wearing black trousers, black shoes and a light grey jacket with “multi-coloured” parts.

The central area of Copenhagen that is home to both the synagogue and Noerreport station, the country’s busiest rail hub, was cordoned off by police carrying machine guns. People living in the area were turned away.

Swedish security services told AFP they were on alert for any attempt by a suspect to cross the bridge linking Denmark with Sweden.

Denmark Shooting AP Senior police inspector Jorgen Skov, right, speaks, during a press conference AP

Spectre of Charlie Hebdo attack

The windows of the cultural centre were pockmarked by multiple bullet holes, and the BBC released chilling audio of the moment a speaker at the event was interrupted by a volley of gunshots.

France’s ambassador to Denmark Francois Zimeray, who was present at the debate but was not hurt, told AFP the shooting was an attempt to replicate the January 7 attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris which killed 12 people.

“They shot from the outside (and) had the same intention as Charlie Hebdo, only they didn’t manage to get in,” he said.

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

“Bullets went through the doors and everyone threw themselves to the floor.”

Charlie Hebdo had, like Vilks, angered Islamist extremists by publishing cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed and periodically satirising Islam.


‘We’re all Danish tonight’

Police initially said two suspects had fled the cultural centre in a Volkswagen Polo. The car was found abandoned around two hours after the attack.

After witness statements indicated there was just one attacker, police later said they were hunting for a lone gunman for the cultural centre assault.

“Everything leads us to believe that the shooting was a political attack and therefore a terrorist act,” the Danish premier said in a statement.


The shootings come at a time of heightened security and rising fears of Islamist violence in Europe.

Dozens of suspected jihadists have been arrested across Europe since mid-January and stocks of weapons and explosives have been uncovered.

Vilks has been living under police protection after his controversial cartoons prompted death threats.

Charlie Hebdo columnist Patrick Pelloux voiced dismay over the attack at the debate Vilks had been attending, saying: “We are all Danish tonight.”

He urged artists not to succumb to self-censorship out of fear, telling AFP: “We must stand firm and not be afraid.”

President Francois Hollande contacted Denmark’s Thorning-Schmidt to express France’s “solidarity in this ordeal”.

- © AFP, 2015

Read: Danish police search for gunman after man killed in ‘likely terror attack’>

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.