Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein is the reported shooter who went on a terroristic killing spree in Denmark on Saturday. He targeted cartoonist Lars Vilk and a synagogue.
Although police did not name the subject, TV2 News reported that it the man’s name is Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein.
Read on for more information about the suspected terrorist.
1. He Was Danish-Born
According to Yahoo! News, El-Hussein was a “Danish-born 22-year-old known to police because of past violence, gang-related activities and possession of weapons, police said in a statement on Sunday.”
Local Danish News reported that El-Hussein “was released from jail only two weeks ago after serving a term for aggravated assault.”
The head of the Danish intelligence service also told reporters that El-Hussein had been known to them and they were in the process of figuring out if he had traveled to the Islamic State.
There were also reports that El-Hussein may have been trying to recreate the January 7 Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks in France.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Danish intelligence officer Jens Madsen said that El-Hussein may have been influenced by radical Islamic literature:
“PET is working on a theory that the perpetrator could have been inspired by the events in Paris. He could also have been inspired by material sent out by (the Islamic State group) and others.”
2. He Was Heavily Armed
After his death, El-Hussein was discovered to have multiple weapons on his person, reports BBC:
“It was the case that when the suspect was shot and killed during police action, he was armed with pistols,” police commissioner Thorkild Fogde told a news conference.
But he may also have had access to automatic weapons. CSN News writes:
Police said they had found an automatic weapon that may have been the one the suspect used in an attack on a cultural center hosting a free speech event.
3. He Was After a Muhammad Cartoonist
El-Hussein was after Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks during the initial attack at 4PM on Saturday when he used an automatic weapon to shoot through the windows of the Krudttoenden cultural center. Vilks was in Copenhagen speaking at a cultural center which was hosting a conference on free speech, religion, and blasphemy.
Vilks has been a target a target by Islamic extremists ever since 2007 after he published a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog, a very grave insult to Muslims who view dogs as unclean.
According to French Ambassador to Denmark François Zimeray, who was attending the event:
“Intuitively I would say there were at least 50 gunshots, and the police here are saying 200. Bullets went through the doors and everyone threw themselves to the floor. We managed to flee the room, and now we’re staying inside because it’s still dangerous. The attackers haven’t been caught and they could very well still be in the neighbourhood.”
One person was killed in that attack: Finn Norgaard, 55.
El-Hussein evaded escaped and went off the radar before targeting a nearby synagogue around 1 AM, where he claimed another victim, a Jewish volunteer guard named Dan Uzan, 37.
5 officers were also injured throughout his attacks.
4. He Was Killed by Police
In pursuing El-Hussein, Copenhagen police carried out an extensive search. Two people were arrested at an internet cafe in the process of the manhunt, reports Local Danish News.
Earlier Sunday, at least two people with handcuffs were taken out by police from an Internet cafe in Copenhagen, Danish media reported. Police spokesman Steen Hansen told The Associated Press that “the action was part of the police investigation” but declined to give further details.
El-Hussein was able to stay off the grid until early Sunday morning when he returned to an address that police had placed under surveillance.
Around 5 AM, El-Hussein was confronted by police when he returned to the address. A shootout ensued.
El-Hussein was killed.
5. He had Been on Police Radar for Some Time
Danish officials have stated that El-Hussein had been on their radar for some time now.
Europol has stated that they intend to join forces with Danish authorities in discovering if El-Hussein had acted alone or if he had assistance in carrying out his attacks.
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has said about the attacks:
“We have some difficult days ahead,” the Prime Minister said. “… But in Denmark, we will never bow to violence.”