Danish police confronted a man near a Copenhagen railroad station who matched the description of the terrorist wanted in connection with shootings at a free speech conference and a synagogue, killing him when he opened fire.
Police believe the man is responsible for both attacks.
Meanwhile, Jewish leaders in the city are mourning the loss of a man who was killed guarding a community center near the synagogue when it was attacked. Dan Uzan, 37, was guarding a celebration at a Jewish community building near the synagogue when he was shot dead.
“He was a person who was always willing to help. An amazing, amazing guy,” said Melchior, speaking from Israel’s international airport before boarding a return flight to Copenhagen.
There are an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 Jews in Denmark, including about 2,000 active members of the Jewish community, which operates its own security patrol that coordinates with police to protect Jewish institutions.
The community had previously asked police for enhanced security, and following last month’s attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris, Denmark police began reevaluating security arrangements, Melchior said.
After an earlier shooting attack at a free speech event in the city, police beefed up security at the Jewish community building where the event was being held, Melchior said. The gunman who killed Uzan in the attack just after midnight on Sunday also shot and wounded two police officers outside the synagogue.
Uzan’s family is active in Copenhagen’s Jewish community, Melchior said, and Uzan attended Jewish school and joined the community’s security efforts from a young age. The slain guard was a talented basketball player, received a degree in politics, lived in Israel for a while and learned to speak Hebrew fluently, Melchior said.
Uzan wanted younger community members to replace him in the security detail, Melchior said, but the community pressed him to remain at his post.
Meanwhile, police are still conducting searches in the area, looking for a possible accomplice. Some reports said the gunman got into a car and drove away from the attack on the cafe hosting the free speech conference. Danish police are not releasing the terrorist’s name:
Jens Madsen from the Security and Intelligence Service told reporters the gunman “may have been inspired by the events that took place in Paris a few weeks ago”.
Mr Marsden said the man may “generally have been inspired by militant Islamist propaganda issued by IS (Islamic State) and other terror organisations”.
Police also said the man was “on the radar” of the intelligence service before the shootings.
Mr Madsen added that police had not yet ascertained if the man travelled to conflict zones “including Syria and Iraq”, but he said it was at “the absolute centre of investigations”.
Police were still carrying out search operations in different areas of Copenhagen on Sunday, Mr Madsen said.
The killing of the suspected perpetrator capped a massive police manhunt launched after the gunman fled the scene following both shootings.
The shootout took place shortly before dawn in the neighbourhood of Noerrebro, where police had been keeping an address under observation.
“We believe the same man was behind both shootings and we also believe that the perpetrator who was shot by the police action force at Noerrebro station is the person behind the two attacks,” chief police inspector Torben Molgaard Jensen told reporters.
Is this how Jews are to live in Europe, constantly on guard and protected by a massive police presence? Certainly, the police prevented a mass casualty attack in both instances in Copenhagen. But can Jews accept this “new normal” of being under threat at all times?
Two great cities of Europe have now been the scene of attacks planned and executed by Islamic terrorists in the middle of the day and out in the open. There was nothing “random” about them. And if one of the goals of terrorism is that it makes citizens feel less secure, then you would have to say that both the Paris and Copenhagen attacks were a rousing success. The suddenness, the brutality, the very brazenness of the attacks is unsettling not just to Jews, but to everyone in Europe.
Another terrorist who was “on the radar”? David Spengler has thoughts on that here.