Slain Suspect in Copenhagen Attacks Was Just Out of Jail

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) -
A policeman takes photos on Monday of a police vehicle covered with flowers after a memorial service held for those killed in Copenhagen over the weekend. (REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)
A policeman takes photos on Monday of a police vehicle covered with flowers after a memorial service held for those killed in Copenhagen over the weekend. (REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)

The slain gunman behind two deadly shooting attacks in Copenhagen was released from jail just two weeks ago and might have become radicalized there last summer, a source close to the Danish terror investigation told The Associated Press on Monday.

Two Danish sources close to the investigation confirmed to the AP that the slain gunman was named Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein. They spoke on condition of anonymity because Copenhagen police have not named the gunman, who they said was a 22-year-old Dane with a history of violence and gang connections. Several Danish media have already named him.

One source told the AP that El-Hussein had been in pre-trial detention for a long time but was released two weeks ago. He also said the corrections authority had alerted Danish security service PET last year after they noticed worrisome changes in El-Hussein’s behavior last summer.

The news about the suspected gunman came as Danes mourned the victims of the country’s first fatal terror attacks in 30 years. The prime ministers of Denmark and Sweden were expected to join thousands of people at memorials in Copenhagen on Monday evening.

While a Danish court on Monday jailed two suspected accomplices of El-Hussein’s for 10 days, Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt insisted there were no signs the gunman had any links to a wider terror cell.

“But we will, of course, in the coming time evaluate our fight against radicalization. We are already doing a lot,” she said.

Denmark’s red-and-white flag flew at half-staff from official buildings across the capital Monday. Mourners placed flowers and candles at the cultural center where Finn Noergaard, 55, was killed and at the synagogue where Dan Uzan, a 37-year-old security guard, Hy”d, was gunned down.

There was also a smaller mound of flowers where the gunman was slain, which critics said was an insult to his victims. Ozlem Cekic, lawmaker of the left-wing Socialist People’s Party, called it “a huge assault on the Danish population.”