Copenhagen shooting: Gunman had 'history of violent crime'

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Copenhagen, Feb 16: The suspected gunman behind double shootings in Copenhagen was identified by Danish media as a 22-year-old with a history of violent crime who had only been freed from jail two weeks ago.

With Europe fearful of a new wave of jihadist violence, police said the man who killed two people at a cultural centre and a synagogue before being shot dead by police may have been inspired by last month's Paris attacks.

Denmark: Gunman had history of crime

Expressions of sympathy and horror poured in from across the world after the weekend shootings described by Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt as a "cynical act of terror". At the synagogue in the centre of Copenhagen, tearful Danes laid flowers and lit candles for the victims of the worst such attack in the normally peaceful Scandinavian nation.

Several media identified the suspected lone gunman as Omar El-Hussein, a 22-year-old who was said by the Ekstra-Bladet tabloid to have been released from prison two weeks ago after serving a term for aggravated assault. Police launched a series of raids across Copenhagen after tracking down and killing the suspect in a pre-dawn shootout in a working class area of the Danish capital.

Suspected lone gunman as Omar El-Hussein was released from prison 2 weeks ago

Investigators said the man, who was born and raised in Denmark, had a history of assault and weapons offences and that they were trying to ascertain if he had help from any accomplices.

In a killing spree that bore a striking resemblance to the Paris attacks, the gunman first fired off a volley of bullets on Saturday at a cultural centre where a panel discussion about Islam and free speech was taking place.

A 55-year-old man identified by the media was documentary film maker Finn Norgaard was killed at the event, which was also attended by Lars Vilks, a Swedish cartoonist behind a controversial caricature of the Prophet Mohammed, and the French ambassador.

In the second attack, the gunman opened fire outside the city's main synagogue while a bar mitzvah was being celebrated, killing a 37-year-old Jewish man named as Dan Uzan who was guarding the building.

Five police were also wounded in the attacks that stoked fear in the city of about one million people, one of the world's safest capitals.

PTI

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