Suspected terrorist shooting in Denmark

By Sean Harshman
Staff Writer  

A suspected terrorist opened fire on a free speech debate and a synagogue in Copenhagen on Saturday, Feb. 14. The attack at the free speech debate left one dead, 55-year-old Danish director Finn Noergaard, and three Danish Police injured, according to the Associated Press.

Emergency rescues services gather outside location of shooting (AP Photo).
Emergency rescues services gather outside location of shooting (AP Photo).

After the gunman left the scene, he moved on to a synagogue where he shot and killed security guard Dan Uzan, 37, and injured two police officers on duty, according to BBC. 

The suspected shooter, now identified as Omar El-Hussein by Danish Media, was shot and killed by Danish SWAT members early Sunday, Feb. 15, according to BBC.

Present at the free speech debate were several prominent artists and political leaders including French ambassador and Swedish cartoonist, Lars Vilks. Vilks, known for his depictions of the Muslim prophet Mohammed, is believed to be one of the main targets of El-Hussein’s attack.

Vilks stated in an interview with CNN that he believed it was very likely he was the target. In 2007 after publishing depictions of Muhammad, al-Qaida placed a bounty on Vilks’s head upwards of 100,000 USD.

Danish police have now arrested and charged two men in connection with the attack. According to Danish authorities, the two provided support to El-Hussein. It is believed that they provided El-Hussein with a change of clothes and additional weapons after the first shooting and helped bring him to his second target, the synagogue, according to BBC.

Investigators released information about El-Hussein’s background and possible motives. El-Hussein had been in jail in Denmark for gang-related violent crimes, it is believed that he may have been radicalized while serving out his sentence, according to BBC.

A memorial for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting (AP Photo).
A memorial for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting (AP Photo).

On his Facebook page, El-Hussein swore allegiance to the Islamic State and Abu Bakr al Baghdadi — leader of ISIS — only hours before beginning his attack Saturday, according to CNN.

According to BBC, the FBI has stated that this attack may have been inspired by the Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this year.