The BBC has obtained an audio recording of the moment a Copenhagen meeting about artistic freedom is interrupted by a storm of bullets. In the recording, at least a dozen shots are fired as attendees are heard scrambling.
As Reuters reports, one civilian has been confirmed dead in the shooting and three police officers have been wounded.
The attack occurred around 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Krudttoennen cafe in the Danish capital of Copenhagen where an event entitled “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression” was being held, the BBC reports.
According to police, the likely target of the attack was controversial cartoonist Lars Vilks, who was in attendance at the debate and billed as guest speaker. Vilks, whose cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad as, among other things, a dog, have garnered criticism in the past. Vilks has been the target of at least one assassination attempt, according to the website Jihad Watch. The cartoonist was not harmed in the attack.
According to Reuters, Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt told journalists authorities were “certain” the shooting was a “politically motivated attack,” calling it an act of terror and putting the country on high alert. “Denmark has today been hit by a cynical act of violence,” he told reporters.
Also in attendance at the meeting was French ambassador to Denmark, Francois Zimeray, who was quick to note the parallels between today’s shooting and last month’s Charlie Hebdo massacre in which 12 people were killed. Like Vilks, the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists had also come under fire for depicting the Prophet Mohammad in a less than glorifying light, which constitutes blasphemy for many Muslims.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, Zimeray had just finished addressing attendees when the chaos erupted.
“I was inside; I had just reached back to my seat after delivering my speech, when I heard a gunshot,” the ambassador told French TV. “First I thought a closet had fallen on the ground, then that it was some fireworks.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the suspect, a male in his 40s, was a guest at the meeting and is presumed to have fled the scene in a car.