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Shooters Open Fire, Hit Three Police in Attack on Cartoonist Who Drew Muhammad as a Dog (UPDATE)

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"Art, blasphemy and the freedom of expression."

Image via Twitter

UPDATE 2:30 p.m. ET: Police now claim only one shooter was involved in Saturday's assault on a free speech seminar in Copenhagen, describing the wanted suspect as "male, 25-30 years old, around 185cm [slightly more than 6 feet] tall, athletic build with an Arabic appearance but with lighter skin than normal and with black, slick hair," the Local reported.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m. ET: Danish police have confirmed that one person, a 40-year-old man, was killed in a shooting of a free speech event in Copenhagen Saturday morning.

The shooters, who escaped in a dark Volkswagen Polo, are being sought, police said.

Gunmen opened fire in Copenhagen, Denmark, Saturday and shot three police officers at a free speech event being attended by high-profile government officials and a cartoonist who had drawn the Prophet Muhammad, Danish newspaper Berlingske reported.

Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has sparked Islamist criticism for drawing the Prophet Muhammad as a dog, was reportedly in the room but was not shot.

Local TV reported that as many as 40 shots were fired, and that Vilks was the target of the attack.

"I heard someone firing with an automatic weapons and someone shouting," Niels Ivar Larsen, one of the speakers at the event, told the TV2 channel. "Police returned the fire and I hid behind the bar. I felt surreal, like in a movie."

Helle Merete Brix, one of the event's organizers, told the Associated Press that Vilks was at the meeting but not injured.

"I clearly consider this as an attack on Lars Vilks," she said, saying she and Vilks were escorted away from the scene by one of the Danish police guards that Vilks gets whenever he visits Denmark.

François Zimeray, the French ambassador to Denmark, tweeted that he was "alive in the room."

The event, the Associated Press reported, was a seminar called, "Art, blasphemy and the freedom of expression."

Berlingske reported that police are treating the shooting as a terrorist attack, and that two suspects are at large.

The 68-year-old Vilks frequently receives police protection and has been attacked in the past — see video below via Mashable of Vilks being headbutted during a 2010 free speech presentation as a crowd chants "Allahu akbar!"

This story has been updated.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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