One person have died and three police officers were injured when a masked gunman opened fire at a free speech debate at a cafe in Copenhagen.

Police have put the area around the Krudttoenden cafe on lockdown as they hunt for the gunman.

French ambassador Francois Zimeray and controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks were both in attendance at the debate, but neither were harmed in the shooting.

Vilks has previously received death threats for drawing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, and may have been the target of the attack. However, no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack and the reason for the attack remains unknown.

An audio recording of the shooting has emerged online:

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt declared the incident an “act or terror”, saying in a statement:

“Denmark was today hit by a cold-blooded act of terror. Everything points toward the shooting in Østerbro being a political assassination and thus an act of terror.

“Police are out in full force across the country. We are using all of our resources. The authorities’ first priority here and now is to catch the perpetrators.

“The shooting is an action that fills me with deep anger. We will do everything to find the guilty parties and bring them before a court.

“We have some tough days ahead of us in which our solidarity will be tested. But in Denmark, we will never yield to violence.”

On Twitter, Copenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen said:

“I am horrified and deeply affected by the shooting at Krudttønden. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”

Police described the gunman 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”. He was wearing “a black or dark blue ski coat with matching trousers” and possibly wearing gloves.

He was also described as having “covered the bottom part of his face all the way up to the eyes with a guerrilla scarf in yellow/orange and red” and had a “black machine gun/machine rifle”, which witnesses described as “90-100cm long, completely black and plastic-looking.”

The debate was on the limits of freedom of speech and whether artists dared to be blasphemous in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last month.

In a statement, the Danish Islamic Council condemned the shooting (translated):

“Danish Islamic Council Hamad Bin Khalifa Civilisation Centre condemns in the strongest terms the attack on the Culture Centre Krudttønden in the East of Copenhagen Saturday, February 14, 2015, which led to the killing of a 40-year-old man and wounded three policemen and expresses its deepest sympathy for the family of the deceased and the injured policemen.

“Everything indicates that terrorism’s hands have stuck in the Danish capital Copenhagen and targeted itself at hit a cultural event on freedom of expression, whose weapons were just opinions, which all heavenly religions and secular laws reject.

“Danish Islamic Council invites all in Danish society to unite in the fight against extremism and terrorism.
Danish Islamic Council also expresses its wish for the offender to be quickly caught and held accountable for his actions.”

In a statement on Twitter, David Cameron said:

“I condemn the shootings in Copenhagen. Free speech must always be protected.

“My thoughts are with the Danish people.”



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