3 dead and 3 seriously injured in shooting in Denmark shopping center

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People evacuated from Field’s shopping center react, in Orestad, Copenhagen, Denmark, Sunday, July 3, 2022, after reports of gunfire. (Olafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

AP

A gunman opened fire in a busy shopping center in the Danish capital on Sunday, killing three people and seriously injuring three others, police said.

A 22-year-old Danish man was arrested after the shooting, Copenhagen Police Inspector Søren Thomassen told reporters, adding that there was no indication that anyone else was involved in the attack, although police were still investigating.

Gun violence is relatively rare in Denmark.

Thomassen said it was too early to speculate about the motive for the shooting, which took place in the late afternoon at Field’s, one of the largest shopping centers in Scandinavia and located on the outskirts of the Danish capital. When the shots rang out, some people hid in shops, while others fled in panic, according to witnesses.

“It is pure terror. This is horrific,” 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 evening near the mall. “You may wonder how anyone could do this to another human being, but it goes beyond… anything possible.”

Thomassen said the victims included a man in his 40s and two “youngsters”, without giving details. Several others were injured, three of them in critical condition, he said.

He said police received the first reports of a shooting at 5:37 p.m. and arrested the suspect 11 minutes later. Thomassen described the suspect as an “ethnic Dane,” a phrase commonly used to indicate that someone is white.

Danish broadcaster TV2 published a grainy photo of the alleged gunman, a man wearing knee-length shorts, a vest or sleeveless shirt, and holding what appeared to be a rifle in his right hand. “He seemed very violent and angry,” eyewitness Mahdi Al-Wazni told TV2. “He spoke to me and said it (the gun) is not real while I was filming him. He seemed very proud of what he was doing.”

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the Scandinavian country has been hit by a “cruel attack”.

“It is incomprehensible. Heartbreaking. Pointless,” she said. “Our beautiful and usually so safe capital had changed in a split second.”

Footage from the scene showed people running out of the mall and TV2 posted a photo of a man being placed on a stretcher. After the shooting, a huge contingent of heavily armed police officers patrolled the area, while several fire engines were also parked outside the mall.

Laurits Hermansen told Danish broadcaster DR that he was with his family in a clothing store in the shopping center when he heard “three, four bangs.” Really loud bangs. It sounded like there was shooting right next to the store.”

The shopping center is located on the outskirts of Copenhagen, opposite a metro station for a line connecting the city center with the international airport. A large highway also runs next to the shopping center.

Organizers have canceled Harry Styles’ concert, which was scheduled to take place at the nearby Royal Arena, on police orders.

Styles wrote on Snapchat: “My team and I are praying for everyone involved in the shooting at the Copenhagen mall. I am shocked. 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 were held in Denmark this year. The reception would take place on the royal yacht moored in Soenderborg, the place where the third stage 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 have lost their lives and that there are more more injured.”

“The situation calls for unity and concern,” they said in a statement.

The shooting came a week after a mass shooting in neighboring Norway, where police say a Norwegian man of Iranian descent opened fire during an LGBTQ festival, killing two and injuring more than 20.

It was the worst weapons 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 people dead and five police officers injured.

Ritter reported from Unterseen, Switzerland.

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