POLICE in Denmark have killed a man suspected of being the gunman behind shootings at a free speech event and a Copenhagen synagogue.
The suspect was identified as a 22-year-old man who police said had a background in criminal gangs, including violence and weapons offences. They did not release his name.
Oliver Larsen, 26, who lives in a building above the street where the suspect was shot dead, said he was awoken at 5am yesterday morning by the sound of shooting.
“I looked out of the window to see what was going on and I saw a lot of policemen and a guy lying on the street. He was probably dead,” Mr Larsen said.
Police said they had found an automatic weapon that may have been the one the suspect used in an attack on a cultural centre hosting a free speech event which left one man dead and five police injured.
More than 200 bullets were fired at the centre during a free-speech event, and investigators are examining possible links between the attack and the massacre of staff at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Jens Madsen, head of the Danish intelligence agency PET, said investigators believe the gunman was inspired by Islamic radicalism.
“PET is working on a theory that the perpetrator could have been inspired by the events in Paris. He could also have been inspired by material sent out by [the Islamic State group] and others,” Mr Madsen said.
Islamic radicals carried out a massacre at the Charlie Hebdo newsroom in Paris last month, followed by an attack on Jews at a kosher grocery store, killing 17 people.
Mr Madsen also said investigators have identified the suspect and that he is someone who had been on the agency’s “radar”. He did not reveal his identity.
The Danish Film Institute said the 55-year-old man killed at
the free speech event was documentary film-maker Finn Noergaard.
The institute’s chief Henrik Bo Nielsen said he was shocked and angry to find out Mr Noergaard was gunned down while attending a discussion on art and free speech.
Mr Noergaard directed and produced documentaries for Danish television, including the 2004 Boomerang Boy about an Australian boy’s dreams to become a world boomerang champion and the 2008 Le Le about Vietnamese immigrants in Denmark.
Denmark’s Chief Rabbi, Jair Melchior, identified the Jewish victim killed at the Copenhagen synagogue as Dan Uzan, 37, a longtime security guard for the 7,000-strong community. He was guarding a building behind the synagogue during a bat mitzvah when he was shot in the head.
Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu decried the attack and said his government plans to encourage a “massive immigration” of Jews from Europe.
“Again, Jews were murdered on European soil just because they were Jews,” Mr Netanyahu said at the start of his Cabinet meeting yesterday.
“Jews deserve security in every country, but we say to our Jewish brothers and sisters, Israel is your home.”
Other leaders also condemned the attacks, including Prime Minister David Cameron, who said: “The shootings in Copenhagen are an appalling attack on free speech and religious freedom.
“Two innocent people have been murdered simply for their beliefs and my thoughts are with their loved ones and all those injured at this tragic time.”
“Denmark has been hit by terror,” Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said. “We do not know the motive for the alleged perpetrator’s actions, but we know that there are forces that want to hurt Denmark.
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