According to the BBC, three police officers were shot and wounded today at a panel debate in Copenhagen organized by controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks, famous for depicting the prophet Muhammad as a dog. After firing up to 40 shots, the two gunmen reportedly escaped.
Still alive in the room
— Frankrigs ambassadør (@francedk) February 14, 2015
Since Vilks' Muhammed drawings were first published in 2007, the artist has been the target of multiple assassination plots by Islamic extremists. A page promoting Saturday's event included the following security warning:
NOTE: THERE IS ALWAYS STRICT SECURITY WHEN LARS VILKS APPEARS AT A PUBLIC EVENT.
BRING ID. NO BIG BAGS ALLOWED. SAFETY CHECK BEFORE ENTRANCE TO THE HALL.
"They fired on us from the outside. It was the same intention as (the attack on) Charlie Hebdo except they didn't manage to get in.
Intuitively I would say there were at least 50 gunshots, and the police here are saying 200. Bullets went through the doors and everyone threw themselves to the floor. We managed to flee the room, and now we're staying inside because it's still dangerous."
It is too early to conclude definitively on motive. But it looks like, unfortunately, a violent attack on freedom of expression. [...] Unfortunately, there are people who react with violence when their fixed mindset meets with free debate and speech. We must stand up for the values our society is built on, and never give in to fear.
Everything indicates that the attack was planned, and the circumstances surrounding the shooting indicate that this was a terrorist attack. [...] The attack confirms that the terrorist threat against Denmark remains serious.
UPDATE - 2:25 p.m.: Copenhagen police now say there was only one shooter and have released a photo of the suspect:
— Københavns Politi (@KobenhavnPoliti) February 14, 2015
According to The Local, police describe the suspect as "male, 25-30 years old, around 185cm tall, athletic build with an Arabic appearance but with lighter skin than normal and with black, slick hair."
There will be always, "Yes, there is freedom of speech, but..." And the turning point is "but." Why do we still say "but," when we— <gunfire>
[Image via AP Images]