Victim shot outside Copenhagen synagogue dies, police say

Updated

One of the three people shot outside a synagogue in Copenhagen early Sunday local time has died, Danish police said.

The shooting, which also wounded two police officers, occurred hours after a gunman killed one person at a shooting at a freedom of speech event hosted by the controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, although police said it was too early to tell if the two shootings were linked.

The victim who died was a civilian shot outside the synagogue. Two police officers were shot in the arm and leg, police said. The suspect fled on foot.

Police are investigating these incidents as terror attacks, but cannot confirm if the two incidents from today are related. The victims were not identified.

Sebastian Zepeda, a 19-year-old visitor from London, told The Associated Press that he didn’t want to leave his hotel room after hearing of the first shooting and was text messaging with his mother when the second shooting happened on the street below.

“I was on my bed and I heard gunshots. And my heart raced,” Zepeda said. “All of a sudden the road was packed with police.

Police personnel and vehicles are seen along a street in central Copenhagen early Feb. 15 following shootings outside a synagogue in Krystalgade.

The earlier shooting occurred at 4 p.m. Saturday (10 a.m. E.T.) at Krudttonden cafe in the Osterbro district, where the 68-year-old Vilks was hosting an event that according to his website was titled, “Arts, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression.” One person was killed and three police officers were wounded.

As a manhunt continued for the lone shooter, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt put the entire nation on high alert and condemned the violence as a “terrorist attack.”

The TV2 channel said there were some 30 bullet holes in the window of the cafe and at least two people were taken away on stretchers. Two of the three police officers injured are members of Denmark’s national security intelligence agency, PET. Police told NBC News that one person was killed but it was unclear whether the victim, described as a civilian, died at the scene.

The suspect fled after the gunfire at the cafe, Copenhagen police said in a statement. Surveillance photos showed him wearing dark clothing and a scarf.

Vilks has faced numerous death threats for caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad in 2007. A Pennsylvania woman last year got a 10-year prison term for a plot to kill Vilks. In 2010, two brothers tried to burn down his house in southern Sweden and were imprisoned for attempted arson.

Forensic investigators are seen at the site of a shooting at a cafe in Copenhagen Feb. 14. A civilian was killed and three police were wounded on Saturday in a shooting at a meeting in Copenhagen attended by Lars Vilks, an artist who has received death threats since publishing images of the Prophet Mohammad.

— Phil Helsel, Elisha Fieldstadt, Emmanuelle Saliba, Nancy Ing and Christina Marker

Material from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.

This story originally appeared on NBC News

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Victim shot outside Copenhagen synagogue dies, police say

Updated