Former gang leader Nedim Yasar shot dead after book launch

Nedim Yasar's memoir, Roots, was published on Tuesday. Credit: Twitter/Nedim Yasar

A former gang leader who detailed how he turned his life around in a memoir has been shot dead after leaving his book's launch.

Nedim Yasar was shot after leaving a cocktail party to mark the release of "Rødder" or Roots on Monday in Denmark's capital, Copenhagen.

The 31-year-old was taken to hospital in a critical condition, but died of his injuries on Tuesday, the same day his book, written by Marie-Louise Toksvig, was published.

Roots tells the tale of how Mr Yasar, the former leader of Los Guerreros (Spanish for the warriors) - a notorious gang involved in the drugs trade - decided to quit and joined an exit programme in 2012 after learning he was going to become a father, according to news agency Ritzau.

Mr Yasar then made a name for himself as a radio host on local station Radio24syv, where he often spoke of his experiences.

Mr Yasar, who arrived in Copenhagen from Turkey at the age of four, was also a mentor for young people at the Danish Youth Red Cross.

Police in Copenhagen said Mr Yasar was targeted by a lone gunman who fired "at least two shots" wearing dark clothes, who fled the scene on foot.

They added that Mr Yasar told them in 2017 he had been the victim of an attempted assault, after he had quit the gang.

Radio24syv flew the Danish flag at half-mast over its offices following Mr Yasar's death. Credit: Radio24syv

Radio24syv flew the Danish flag at half-mast over its offices following Mr Yasar's death.

The station's Chief Editor, Joergen Ramskov, paid tribute to Mr Yasar, calling him "a funny colleague, a skilled radioist, a human being full of life".

He continued: "If a meaningless killing can be given any meaning, we should remember Nedim, as he was: A giant, a great colleague and, above all, a big and important voice in the debate [on gangs and crime].

"The killing of Nedim is not just another killing... It's an attempt to threaten people who want to change their lives and insist on speaking openly and freely...

"Tomorrow we must continue where Nedim was stopped.

"Keep believing in the right to be free people who can and dare to speak out."

Danish Justice Minister Soren Pape Poulsen also paid tribute to Mr Yasar, calling his death "sad and in infinitely meaningless".

He added: "I met Nedim once. I met a man who with all his heart wanted to create and new life and make a difference for others.

"My thoughts and compassion go to his friends and family."