Motive probably not terror-related in ‘cruel’ Danish shooting

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People exit Field’s shopping center in Copenhagen, Denmark on Sunday, July 3, 2022. A gunman opened fire in the busy shopping center in the Danish capital on Sunday, killing a few people and seriously injuring a few others, police said. (Olafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

AP

A gunman who killed three people when he opened fire in a busy shopping center acted alone and apparently selected his victims at random, Danish police said Monday, but almost ruled out the attack as an “act of terrorism”.

Police have not identified a motive for Sunday’s attack in one of Scandinavia’s largest shopping centers. A suspect with a gun and knife was quickly arrested, and police chief Søren Thomassen said the 22-year-old Danish man also had access to another weapon.

He said the firearms had been obtained illegally and that the suspect was known to mental health professionals, but did not provide further details.

“It was the worst possible nightmare,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Monday, calling the attack “unusually brutal”.

The three dead were a 17-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, both Danes, and a 47-year-old Russian man, Thomassen said. Four other people were hospitalized with gunshot wounds and are in a critical but stable condition. A total of 30 people were injured, most of them in the panic after shots were fired at Field’s shopping center on the outskirts of the Danish capital.

The last shooting on this scale was in February 2015, when a 22-year-old man was killed in a shootout with police after an attack in the capital that killed two people and injured five police officers.

The suspect will be arraigned later Monday on suspicion of murder. That’s one step less than filing formal charges, but allows authorities to keep a suspect in custody during an investigation.

Thomassen said police had no indication that anyone helped the gunman, and his motive remains unclear.

“There’s nothing in our investigation, or the documents we’ve looked at, or the things we’ve found, or the witness statements we’ve received, that can prove this is an act of terrorism,” said Thomassen, who previously served as the suspect. identified. suspected as an “ethnic Dane,” an expression usually 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.”

Footage from the scene showed people running out of the mall, where flowers were laid on Monday.

Chassandra Stoltz, an 18-year-old college student on her way to a Harry Styles concert scheduled for Sunday evening nearby, described a stampede as the shots rang out. At first she and her sister and father thought it was because someone had seen Styles – but she soon realized the panic, which included a man snatching his child from a stroller in the chaos.

“People led us to the exit sign, and we ran up to the roof and we were stuck there for a while and then people everywhere panicked and people cried,” Stoltz said.

The Styles concert was canceled due to the shooting.

Sunday’s attack came about a week after a shooting in neighboring Norway, where police said a Norwegian man of Iranian descent opened fire during an LGBTQ festival, killing two and injuring more than 20.

Ritter reported from Unterseen, Switzerland.

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