Copenhagen, 4 July 2022 (dpa/MIA) – Three people have died and three more are in a critical condition following a shooting in a Copenhagen shopping centre, police chief Søren Thomassen confirmed on Sunday night.
In comments reported by Danish media, Thomassen noted that there had been online speculation of a racist motive to the shooting, but said that no evidence of that had so far emerged.
The alleged shooter, a 22-year-old Dane arrested by police, was “generally known” to authorities, Thomassen said without elaborating.
He said police believed the shooter acted alone, but were planning to continue with a wide-ranging investigation and maintain a massive operational presence in Copenhagen until that was established for certain.
The suspect was carrying a rifle and ammunition when he was arrested, but another weapon may have been involved, Thomassen said, adding that the suspect would be questioned on Monday.
Police would not initially comment on whether the suspect was a member of a shooting club or if he had been in possesion of a weapon illegally.
Police have sealed off the entire island of Zealand, which includes Copenhagen and the city of Roskilde, closing several highways.
A large police contingent was deployed to Field’s shopping mall after panic broke out after shots were fired at around 5:30 pm (1530 GMT) on Sunday.
Laurits Hermansen told Danish broadcaster DR he heard three or four very loud bangs while he was in a shop with his family. Others then ran into the shop saying they had heard gunshots, after which he and his family fled through an emergency exit, Hermansen said.
Other eyewitnesses told the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that they had heard shots. “You didn’t know what was happening. Suddenly chaos broke out everywhere,” Emilie Jeppesen told the paper. Her friend Astrid Kofoed Jørgensen said: “Everyone in the restaurant was sent to the kitchen, then we sat there and could hear three or four shots.”
A concert by singer Harry Styles due to take place at the Royal Arena nearby was reportedly cancelled at short notice after the shooting.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen condemned the shooting as a “horrific attack.”
“We were all brutally torn from the bright summer we had just begun,” Frederiksen said on Sunday night.
“It is incomprehensible. Heartbreaking. Pointless. Our beautiful and otherwise safe capital was changed in a split second,” she said.
The Danish royal family said the situation called for “unity and care” and thanked the emergency services for their quick response.
“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the victims, their families and all those affected by the tragedy,” a statement issued late on Sunday evening by Queen Margrethe II, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary read.
This is the second shooting in a Scandinavian city in little more than a week, after an attack on a gay bar in central Oslo claimed the lives of two men and injured a further 21 people last weekend.