Gunman Shoots Up Free Speech Conference In Denmark, Kills One

Scott Greer Contributor
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Terror struck Copenhagen, Denmark Saturday afternoon when a masked gunman opened fire on a free speech event held at a local cafe, killing one person.

According to Danish police, the gunman fired through the cafe’s windows at the event’s attendees, leaving 30 bullet holes in the glass, the Associated Press reports. The event was hosted by Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist who has received numerous death threats since drawing the Muslim prophet Muhammad as dog in 2007.

“I saw a masked man running past,” one eyewitness told the AP. “I clearly consider this as an attack on Lars Vilks.”

The conference was entitled “Art, blasphemy and the freedom of expression” and was planned to include a speech from the French ambassador to Denmark on the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack. The French satirical weekly was targeted by Islamic militants for publishing depictions of Muhammad in January.

The ambassador, Francois Zimeray, was in attendance at the the time the shooting occurred at the Danish cafe. He tweeted shortly after the perpetrator fled from the scene in a Volkswagen car that he was “still alive.” Police said the victim killed in the attack was a 40-year-old man visiting the cafe for the free speech event.

Police are still on the hunt for the two assailants involved. They consider the shooting as a likely terror attack.

Vilks, the possible target for the attacks, believes this tragic incident will only further frighten people from speaking their minds in Europe.

“This will create fear among people on a whole different level than we’re used to,” he told the AP. “Charlie Hebdo was a small oasis. Not many dared do what they did.”

This isn’t the artist’s first brush with violence since the publication of his now infamous cartoon. In 2010, two men tried to burn down Vilks’s house and an American woman was sentenced to 10 years in jail for a plot on his life last year.