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Dead Suspect in Copenhagen Attacks Identified as 22-Year-Old Danish Man

The suspect was shot and killed by police on Sunday morning after opening fire on officers who were investigating two Copenhagen attacks.

The gunman killed by Danish police early Sunday — who is believed to be responsible for killing two people and injuring five in back-to-back attacks at a freedom of speech event and at a Copenhagen synagogue Saturday — was a 22-year-old citizen of Denmark, police said later in the day.

In fact, the young man, whose name has not been released, was known to police because of past criminal acts involving "violations of the Arms Act and violence," according to a statement from the Copenhagen Police. The suspect was shot and killed by police on Sunday morning after opening fire on officers who were investigating the two attacks, according to the statement. Copenhagen police believe he used two guns in the attacks, the statement said.

An extensive manhunt for the suspect began on Saturday afternoon following the reports of gunshots near an event called "Arts, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression," organized by controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who has been the target of death threats since caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad in 2007. Vilks was unharmed, but one person was killed and three police officers were injured. Shortly after, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said the violence was a terrorist act and put the entire nation on high alert.

Hours later, early Sunday morning, a Jewish guard and two police officers were shot outside of a synagogue. The civilian later died.

Jens Madsen, head of the Danish intelligence agency PET, said investigators believe the attacks were inspired by Islamist radicalism, according to The Associated Press. "PET is working on a theory that the perpetrator could have been inspired by the events in Paris,” Madsen said, referring to a attacks on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery store in Paris last month that left 17 people dead. “He could also have been inspired by material sent out by (ISIS) and others," Madsen said.

The United States on Sunday condemned the attacks, with State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki saying in a statement: "The people of the United States stand united with the people of Denmark and all others who defend the universal right of freedom of speech and stand against anti-Semitism and bigotry in all its forms."


— Elisha Fieldstadt