COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A gunman opened fire Sunday at a busy shopping center in the Danish capital, killing three people and seriously injuring three others, police said.
A 22-year-old Dane was arrested after the shooting, Copenhagen Police Inspector Søren Thomassen told reporters, adding there was no indication anyone else was involved in the attack, although the police are still investigating.
Armed violence is relatively rare in Denmark.
Thomassen said it was too early to speculate on the motive for the shooting, which occurred late afternoon at Field’s, one of Scandinavia’s largest shopping malls and located on the outskirts of the Danish capital. When the shots rang out, some people hid in shops while others fled in a panicked stampede, witnesses said.
“It’s pure terror. It’s awful,” said Hans Christian Stoltz, a 53-year-old IT consultant, who brought his daughters to see Harry Styles perform at a concert scheduled for Sunday night near the mall. . “You might wonder how one person can do this to another human being, but it’s beyond… beyond anything possible.”
Thomassen said the victims included a man in his 40s and two “young people”, without giving details. Several other people were injured, three of them seriously, he said.
He said police received the first reports of a shooting at 5.37pm and arrested the suspect 11 minutes later. Thomassen described the suspect as “ethnic Dane,” a phrase commonly used to mean someone is white.
Danish broadcaster TV2 released a grainy photo of the alleged shooter, a man wearing knee-length shorts, a vest or sleeveless shirt and holding what appeared to be a gun in his right hand. “He seemed very violent and angry,” eyewitness Mahdi Al-Wazni told TV2. “He spoke to me and told me that (the gun) wasn’t real because I was filming it. He seemed very proud of what he was doing.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the Scandinavian country had been hit by a “cruel attack”.
“It’s the world upside down. Heartbreaking. Pointless,” she said. “Our beautiful and usually so safe capital was changed in a split second.”
Footage from the scene showed people running out of the mall and TV2 released a photo of a man being put on a stretcher. After the shooting, a huge contingent of heavily armed police patrolled the area, with several fire engines also parked outside the mall.
Laurits Hermansen told Danish broadcaster DR he was in a clothing store in the mall with his family when he heard “three, four bangs. Really strong bangs. It looked like the shots were fired right next to the store.
The mall is on the outskirts of Copenhagen, just opposite a metro station for a line that connects the city center to the international airport. A major highway also passes by the mall.
Organizers canceled the Harry Styles concert, which was scheduled for the nearby Royal Arena, on the orders of the police.
On Snapchat, Styles wrote, “My team and I are praying for everyone involved in the Copenhagen mall shooting. I’m shocked. I love H.”
The royal palace said a reception with Crown Prince Frederik linked to the Tour de France cycling race had been cancelled. The first three stages of the race took place in Denmark this year. The reception was to take place on the royal yacht moored in Soenderborg, the town where the third leg ended.
In a joint statement, Queen Margrethe, her son Crown Prince Frederik and his wife, Crown Princess Mary, said: “We do not yet know the full extent of the tragedy, but it is already clear that more people lost their lives and many more were injured.
“The situation calls for unity and attention,” they said in a statement.
The shooting came a week after a mass shooting in neighboring Norway, where police said an Iranian-Norwegian opened fire at an LGBTQ festival, killing two people and injuring more than 20.
It is the worst gun attack in Denmark since February 2015, when a 22-year-old man was killed in a shootout with police after a shooting in the capital that left two dead and five police officers wounded.
Ritter reported from Unterseen, Switzerland.
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