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Gunmen In Denmark Attacks Killed, Police Say

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In Denmark, authorities believe that the same gunman carried out attacks on a cafe and a synagogue in Copenhagen over the weekend. Two people were killed. Yesterday, police shot and killed the suspect, and this morning police have arrested two men on suspicion of helping the shooter. Witnesses say the gunman fired shots at a free-speech event featuring a controversial Swedish cartoonist. To learn more about what happened over the weekend, we reached Helge Frandsen from the Danish Broadcasting Corp. Good morning.

HELGE FRANDSEN: Good morning.

GREENE: What can you tell us about the gunman and why he did this?

FRANDSEN: Well, the question why he did it is what everyone is trying to answer this morning. But we can say that he said - or he was a 22-year-old with a Palestinian background. I mean, he's born and raised in Denmark. And he'd been in prison for an incident that happened two years ago where he stabbed a guy in a train. And the speculation is, of course, has his time in prison gave him these ideas to do what he did?

GREENE: I guess I wonder though - I mean, there was this cartoonist, Lars Vilks, who's received threats in the past for depicting the Prophet Muhammad. He was at this free-speech event. Do we believe that he was the specific target here?

FRANDSEN: Well, that is the general belief, but we can't be sure. But of course, I mean, it was a debate that also was raised after what happened in Paris a month ago, so it seems very unlikely that this was just a randomly targeted meeting.

GREENE: And, of course, the idea of going after someone who had depicted the Prophet Muhammad - I mean, that does have very real reminders of what we saw in Paris and the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo. Are investigators looking at possible links there?

FRANDSEN: They are definitely investigating. It's the same pattern also because this guy goes on to shoot at a Jewish synagogue, which, you know, was also a Jewish target in Paris.

GREENE: Copenhagen, Denmark - not a place that is known for confronting violence like this. We're now, you know, a day or so on. How are people handling all of this?

FRANDSEN: Well, going to work this morning I took the metro. And I've never, ever in my life seen so many police and carrying heavy guns - automatic guns. And you can tell in the looks of people's faces that something different is going on.

GREENE: All right, we've been speaking to Helge Frandsen from Danish public radio. Helge, thanks very much.

FRANDSEN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.