Shots were fired Saturday during a meeting about free speech at a cafe in Copenhagen killing one civilian and wounding three police, Danish media is reporting.
The space, Krudttoenden cafe, was hosting an event titled “Art, blasphemy and freedom of expression,” organized by controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks, according to the Associated Press. He was not hit.
The French ambassador to Denmark was apparently at the event as well and tweeted that he survived the situation.
Still alive in the room
— Frankrigs ambassadør (@francedk) February 14, 2015
Magnus Bjerg, a reporter with Danish station TV2, one of the outlets reporting the shooting, tweeted a picture of what appears to be a glass window riddled with bullets.
Bedre foto af skudhullerne i glasdørene til “Krudttønden”, hvor tre betjente blev ramt af skud pic.twitter.com/vVGLEchOW7
— Magnus Bjerg (@MagnusBjerg) February 14, 2015
“I heard someone firing with an automatic weapons and someone shouting,” Niels Ivar Larsen, one of the speakers at the event, told the AP. “Police returned the fire and I hid behind the bar. I felt surreal, like in a movie.”
Copenhagen police confirmed a 40-year-old civilian is dead, and three police officers were wounded.
Originally, police thought two male assailants were at large, but witness interviews since have suggested there was only one gunman, according to Reuters. A getaway car, a black Volkswagen Polo, has been found, TV2 is reporting, and police have issued a photo of the alleged shooter.
Police said the shooting was specifically aimed at Vilks, and Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has officially labeled it a terrorist attack.
“We feel certain now that it was a politically motivated attack, and thereby it was a terrorist attack, in which one civilian was killed and three policemen were wounded,” she told reporters, according to Reuters. “We are on high alert all over the country.”
The artist stirred controversy when he drew the Prophet Mohammad as a dog (shown right). Sweden had recently tightened security around him after 17 people were killed as a result of the terrorist attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
After a Swedish magazine published Vilks’ drawing in 2007, al-Qaeda in Iraq put a $100,000 bounty on his head, forcing Vilks to go into hiding, the Associated Press reported.
Vilks was also assaulted in 2010 while giving a lecture at Uppsala University. He showed the 250 attendees a “provocative film with sexual content” when one man ran up and punched him repeatedly.
This video shows the aftermath of the attacks on Vilks inside the lecture hall:
While many Muslims had been protesting peacefully outside of the university, police had to hold off angry demonstrators shouting “God is great!” in Arabic with pepper spray as Vilks was escorted out of the lecture hall.
This story is developing.
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