Three dead in Denmark after shooting in Copenhagen shopping center

Three people were killed and at least three others were seriously injured in a shooting in Copenhagen on Sunday that left terrified shoppers fleeing safety at Denmark’s largest shopping centre, authorities said.

Soren Thomassen, an inspector with the Copenhagen police, said early Monday local time that the dead were a man in his forties and two young people. He did not say how many people were injured in total, but said three are in critical condition.

He said police had taken a 22-year-old Dane into custody in connection with the shooting, which happened around 6 p.m. local time. Authorities have not released any information about a possible motive, but believe the man acted alone.

“We are convinced that the man we arrested is the culprit,” Thomassen said. “He had a rifle in his possession and he had ammunition for that rifle in his possession.”

The shooting took place in Field’s shopping centre, which is described as nine minutes from central Copenhagen via metro and is home to more than 140 stores, including Danish and international fashion brands.

Video and images posted on social media showed people sprint out of the mall and ambulances were lined up outside.

An employee of a shopping center told a local news station that “crowds of people” had run away to seek shelter in the Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet near Field’s. Employees barricaded the doors and stayed there for about 45 minutes, the employee said.

A witness, Mahdi Al-Wazni, told TV 2 News that he saw the gunman.

“He looked violent and angry, and he screamed as he ran,” he said, adding that he saw the gunman smash windows in the mall.

Other witnesses described scenes of panic and workers helping customers flee through the back rooms of stores. A woman told TV 2 that she and her family had stopped at a store to get snacks for her 1-year-old daughter when the family heard a loud bang.

Rikke Olsen said her husband at first thought the noise was someone setting off fireworks or throwing fireworks. The noise was followed by a stream of customers from the mall running to the family.

Mrs. Olsen turned to see a man holding a rifle that he was loading, she said.

“I turn and run as fast as I can while holding my 3-year-old boy’s hand,” she said. “I just pull it with me, and then I lose my grip, and people kick him because they’re running.”

She picked him up and walked on.

In a statement late Sunday, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen urged Danes to unite in the wake of the “cruel attack”.

“Several people were killed,” she said. “More injured. Innocent families go shopping or eat. Children, young people and adults.”

“We’ve all been brutally pulled out of the bright summer we’d just started,” she continued. “It is incomprehensible. Heartbreaking. Pointless. Our beautiful and usually so safe capital had changed in a split second.”

At the time of the shooting, Harry Styles fans had gathered nearby at the city’s Royal Arena, waiting for the former One Direction singer to perform. At about 8pm, the 17,000 spectators were told the concert would be postponed, but 90 minutes later they were told the show had been canceled due to “security concerns,” the BBC reported.

“I am devastated, along with the people of Copenhagen,” Mr. Styles said on Twitter† “I love this city. The people are so warm and full of love. I am devastated for the victims, their families and anyone in pain. I’m sorry we couldn’t be together. Please take care of each other.”

Gun violence is relatively rare in Denmark, at least compared to the United States, where shootings in public places have become commonplace. According to a repository of gun violence data maintained by the University of Sydney, Denmark has just over one gun death per 100,000 people, while the United States has just over 12.

Christine Chung reporting contributed.

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