Witnesses have described throwing themselves behind the counters of shops and crowding into cramped shelters in fear for their lives after a gunman opened fire in a busy shopping center in Copenhagen.
The attack on the Field’s shopping center in Denmark’s capital on Sunday evening, for which no motive is yet known, left three people dead and three others seriously injured.
Shoppers were pictured fleeing the mall, which is one of the largest of its kind in Scandinavia, while those who stayed inside were told by police to stay as large numbers of armed officers worked to secure the area.
A 22-year-old Danish man has been arrested in connection with the attack and Inspector Soren Thomassen told a news conference that, while the investigation is ongoing, it is believed the perpetrator acted alone.
danish gossip magazine BT released unverified video footage allegedly shot by a witness to the attack, Mahdi Al-wazni, of a man walking around the mall with a large rifle and swinging it around his shoulders.
“He seemed very aggressive and yelled different things,” Al-wazni told BTlater told broadcaster TV2 that the man appeared to be carrying a “shotgun”, adding: “He spoke to me and said it was [the rifle] is not really like I was filming it. He seemed very proud of what he was doing.”
An eyewitness, Rikke Levandovski, told the same channel that “at first people thought it was a thief”, adding: “Then I suddenly heard shots and threw myself behind the counter in the store.”
She said the attacker “just fired into the crowd, not the ceiling or the floor”.
A woman named Emilie Jeppesen told the Jyllands-Posten newspaper: “You didn’t know what was happening. Suddenly there was chaos everywhere.”
Others described running away from the sound of gunfire and desperate for safety.
“My boyfriend and I… suddenly we hear shots. I hear about ten shots and then run as fast as we can into a toilet. We squeeze in this small toilet where we are about 11 people,” a woman who gave her name, as Isabella told DR, the Danish public broadcaster.
Joachim Olsen, a former Danish politician who went to a gym at the mall when he saw crowds of people running out of the mall, told CNN: School shootings in the US, people come out with their hands over their heads.
“You have people running away, finding friends and calling friends and relatives who were inside, some talking to friends who were inside,” Mr. Olsen said. “Old people with their arms around the necks of people who carry them outside, their feet are just dragged across the floor.”
He added: “At one point we were chased away. The police came and said ‘run, run, run, they are still shooting there’.
Laurits Hermansen was in a clothing store in the shopping center with his family when he heard “three-four bangs,” he told Danish broadcaster DR. “Really loud bangs. It sounded like the shots were fired right next to the store,” he said.
Police did not specify exactly how many people were killed and injured in the attack.
A spokesman for the capital’s main hospital, Rigshospitalet, told Reuters it had received a “small group of patients” for treatment, adding that additional staff, including surgeons and nurses, had been brought in to assist.
“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 less than a mile from the mall, a show that has already been canceled with thousands of fans. inside the hall.
“You may wonder how anyone could do this to another human being, but it goes beyond anything possible,” Stoltz said of the shooting.
Styles said he was “heartbroken, along with the people of Copenhagen”.
“I am devastated for the victims, their families and everyone in pain,” he tweeted.
Additional reporting by agencies