Copenhagen shootings: ‘Helpers’ face court

Flowers lie outside the scene of the free'speech meeting shootings. Picture: Getty
Flowers lie outside the scene of the free'speech meeting shootings. Picture: Getty
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TWO men suspected of helping the gunman behind the deadly attacks in Copenhagen faced a court hearing yesterday as Danes mourned the victims of a 
shooting spree that authorities said may have been inspired by last month’s terror attacks in Paris.

The defence lawyer for one of the suspects said they were accused of helping the gunman evade authorities and get rid of a weapon during the manhunt that ended early on Sunday morning when the attacker was killed in a shootout with police.

Two people were killed in the weekend attacks, including a Danish filmmaker attending a free speech event and a Jewish security guard shot in the head outside a synagogue in Copenhagen.

Five police officers were wounded in the attacks.

Authorities described the gunman as a 22-year-old Dane with a history of violence and gang connections.

Denmark’s security service said he may have been inspired by the terror attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris that killed 17 people.

Denmark’s red-and-white flag flew at half-staff from official buildings yesterday across the capital.

Mourners placed flowers and candles at the cultural centre where documentary filmmaker Finn Noergaard, 55, was killed and at the synagogue where Dan Uzan, a 37-year-old security guard, was gunned down.

There was also a smaller mound of flowers in the street at the location were the gunman was slain.

The prime minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt and her Swedish counterpart Stefan Löfvén were expected to join thousands of people at memorials in Copenhagen last night.

The two suspected accomplices arraigned at a closed hearing were accused of “having helped the perpetrator in connection with the shooting attacks,” Copenhagen police said. A judge at the hearing will rule on whether to keep the two men in custody.

Denmark has been targeted by a series of foiled terror plots since the 2005 publication of 12 caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper. The cartoons triggered riots in many Muslim countries and militant Islamists called for vengeance.

One of the participants in the free speech event targeted Saturday was Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who caricatured the prophet in 2007.

Mr Vilks, who was whisked away by his bodyguards and was unharmed, said he thought he was the intended target of that attack.

Other participants said they dropped to the floor, looking for places to hide as the shooting started. The gunman never entered the cultural centre but sprayed it with bullets from outside in a gun battle with police.

World leaders, including Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, condemned the Copenhagen attacks.

French President Francois Hollande visited the Danish Embassy in Paris on Sunday and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was in Copenhagen yesterday in a show of solidarity.

“The attacks have the same causes in Paris and Copenhagen,” Ms Hidalgo said. “Our cities are symbols of democracy. We are here and we are not afraid.”


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