Copenhagen Gunman, Known to Intelligence Services, Killed By Police

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Copenhagen Gunman, Known to Intelligence Services, Killed By Police

Suspect 'may have been inspired by the events in Paris some weeks ago'

The site of Saturday's attack in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo: Benno Hansen/flickr/cc)

The suspect in this weekend's attacks on a free speech event and a synagogue in Copenhagen had been "on the radar" of the intelligence services and "may have been inspired by the events in Paris some weeks ago," Denmark's spy chief Jens Madsen said on Sunday. 

Two civilians were killed and five police officers were wounded in the attacks. The gunman was reportedly shot dead by police on Sunday, following a manhunt.

Al Jazeera America offered the following summary of the events:

The first shooting in the normally tranquil Danish capital occurred before 4 p.m. local time Saturday, when police said a gunman used an automatic weapon to shoot through the windows of the Krudttoenden Café, which was hosting an event titled "Art, Blasphemy and the Freedom of Expression" when the shots were fired.

The event was organized by Lars Vilks, 68, a Swedish artist who has faced numerous threats for caricaturing Prophet Muhammad in 2007. Police confirmed that he was the target of the attack.

... Police believe the same shooter later targeted the synagogue, killing another man and wounding two police officers. Denmark's Jewish Community identified the victim at the synagogue as 37-year-old Dan Uzan, who was guarding a building during a bar mitzvah when he was shot in the head at about 1 a.m. local time on Sunday morning.

Several aspects of the case mirrored last month's attacks at a satirical newspaper and kosher grocery store in Paris.

The New York Times reports:

Like Mr. Vilks, the editor of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo — Stéphane Charbonnier, who was killed in the Paris attacks — had been on a list of assassination targets issued by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and other radical Muslim groups. Others, like the novelist Salman Rushdie, are still considered targets. The list also includes three staff members of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which printed cartoons of Muhammad in 2005: Kurt Westergaard, Carsten Juste and Flemming Rose.

On Twitter, privacy advocates said the fact that the suspected gunman in Copenhagen was previously known to the police is further proof that mass surveillance doesn't work.

 On Sunday, Al Jazeera America profiled nine political cartoonists currently facing challenges for their work.

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