US condemns 'deplorable' Copenhagen shooting

WASHINGTON - The United States condemned the "deplorable" attack that killed at least one person and wounded three police officers in Copenhagen during a debate on Islam and free speech Saturday.

Shortly after the White House issued a statement by National Security Council Bernadette Meehan, Copenhagen police said another person was shot in the head and two policemen were shot in the arm and leg near the city's main synagogue in a second assault.

It was not confirmed if the events were related to the earlier deadly shooting at a cultural centre, also in Denmark's capital.

"The United States condemns today's deplorable shooting in Copenhagen," Meehan said, adding that Washington stood ready to help if needed in the investigation.

Swedish artist Lars Vilks - the author of controversial Prophet Mohammed cartoons that sparked worldwide protests in 2007 - was among those at the debate targeted by the gunman, who fled the scene after a shootout with police.

Danish Prime Minister Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt described the assault as "a terrorist attack" as Danish television showed the windows of the Krudttonden cultural centre pock-marked by multiple bullet holes.

"We offer our condolences to the loved ones of the deceased victim, and our thoughts are with those wounded in this attack," Meehan said.

"We have been in close contact with our Danish counterparts and stand ready to lend any assistance necessary to the investigation."