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Saturday, February 14, 2015

2 More Police Shot and Wounded, Another Man Dead in 2nd Copenhagen Incident

Denmark was on high alert after a shooting near a synagogue in Copenhagen left a civilian dead and two police officers wounded early Sunday morning, hours after a gunman fatally shot a man and wounded three police officers at a free speech event in the same city.

The shooting, in the Krystalgade area of Copenhagen, left a male civilian dead, and two officers with wounds to the arms and legs, police said. The wounded officers were receiving treatment. Police spokesman Allan Wadsworth-Hansen said that it was unclear if the attack at the synagogue was related to the attack at the free speech event.

The identity of the victim had not been released.

Police officers take cover behind their patrol cars on the streets of central Copenhagen
 on February 15, 2015 after one person was shot in the head and two policemen
 were shot in the arm and leg in Krystalgade, a street that is home to
Copenhagen's main synagogue. It was not confirmed if the incident
was related to Saturday's deadly shooting at a cultural centre in
Copenhagen  where a debate on Islam and free speech was being held. 
Police scoured the city for suspects, and hours after the attack, Copenhagen police confirmed that they had shot and killed a man near the Nørrebro rail station. Police said that when they confronted the man, who was a person of interest, he opened fire and was then shot. No police officers were shot, a statement said. The man's identity and condition were unknown. Police were investigating if he was connected to the attacks.

Police had thus far not apprehended a suspect from either shootings, and were uncertain if it was the same perpetrator that had carried out both attacks. The synagogue shooter had fled on foot. Police described the suspect as a male wearing black pants and shoes, along with a gray jacket with a multi-colored portion.

Related: Deadly Shooting At Copenhagen Free Speech Event

Police urged people to stay indoors as they searched for the gunman.

On Saturday, a lone gunman opened fire at Krudttønden cafe in Copenhagen, which was hosting a free speech event, killing one man and wounding three police officers. "We feel certain now that it was a politically motivated attack, and thereby it was a terrorist attack," Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said. "We are on high alert and there will be exceptional staff and police presence in Copenhagen all night," senior police inspector Jørgen Skov said in a statement.

The victim in the shooting had not been identified, but described as a man in his 50s.

No one had yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

The free speech event featured Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has stirred controversy for his caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Vilks has been the target of numerous death threats on account of his work. He was unharmed in the shooting at the cafe. Vilks told the Associated Press he believed he was the target of the attack. "What other motive could there be? It's possible it was inspired by Charlie Hebdo," he said, referencing the attacks on the French satirical magazine in January.

The U.S. National Security Council condemned the attacks and offered condolences to the victims. The U.S. said it had been communicating with the Danish government, and was ready to offer assistance to the investigation.

Combined, the dual shootings in Copenhagen left two dead, and five police officers wounded.

The shootings occurred a month after an attack on the Paris office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo left 12 dead. The magazine has often found itself the subject of controversy, for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad as well as other religions and French politicians. Yemen's al-Qaeda branch claimed to have planned the attack, and provided financing for the gunmen. The suspects in the killing, Cherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi, had been known to French authorities for their association with militant Islamist extremism. They were both killed in a gunfight with French security.