Danish police say one civilian died after dozens of bullets were sprayed at a Copenhagen cafe where an artist who published pictures of the prophet Mohammed was attending a meeting.
As many as 30 bullet holes ripped through the window of the Krudttoenden cafe and at least two people were taken away on stretchers, including a uniformed police officer.
Police later said one civilian had died and three police officers were injured but “out of danger”.The dead man, said to be a 40-year-old who was attending the event, has not yet been identified.
The two suspected gunmen are believed to have fled the scene in a dark Volkswagen Polo and are still on the run.
Shots rang out just before 4pm at the cafe as it hosted an event called “Art, blasphemy and the freedom of expression”.
The meeting, a debate on freedom of speech, was attended by Swedish artist Lars Vilks and the French ambassador to Denmark, Francois Zimeray.
Mr Zimeray later sent a tweet in which he announced he was “still alive in the room”.
Still alive in the room
— Frankrigs ambassadør (@francedk) February 14, 2015
Helle Merete Brix, one of the organisers, told The Associated Press that Vilks was at the meeting but was not hit.
According to larsvilks.com, the event was timed to mark the anniversary of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie.
Mr Vilks was forced to live under police protection after death threats and attacks over drawings he published depicting the prophet of Islam as a dog in 2007. In 2010, two brothers tried to burn down his house in southern Sweden and were imprisoned for attempted arson.
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.
After Islamic militants attacked the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris last month, killing 12 people, Vilks told reporters that even organisations were inviting him to speak in public.
Vilks said he thought Sweden’s Sapo security service, which uses bodyguards to protect him, would step up the security around him.
French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday he had been informed of an attack and interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve would go to Copenhagen as soon as possible.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius condemned what he called a “terrorist attack” in a separate statement.