At least three people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a shopping center in Copenhagen on Sunday, police said. Several others were injured, including three who are in critical condition, police inspector Søren Thomassen said.
The suspect, who is in custody, is a 22-year-old Danish man who was being held near the Fields shopping centre, Thomassen, head of the Copenhagen police unit, said.
Thomassen said the three victims were a man in his forties and “two young people.”
Thomassen said earlier Sunday it was too early to speculate about a motive, but said terror could not be ruled out right away. He noted that police “have no information that others are involved. Here’s what we know now.”
Police later said the suspect was in possession of a rifle and ammunition when he was arrested. He is charged with manslaughter and is expected to appear in court on Monday.
He said police received the first reports of a shooting at 5:37 p.m. local time 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) isn’t real while I was filming it. 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’s 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 shopping center and Danish broadcaster TV2 posted a photo of a man being placed on a stretcher. Witnesses said people were crying and hiding in shops.
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 the shots were fired 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.
A concert by former One Direction band member Harry Styles that was to take place on Sunday evening at the nearby Royal Arena has been cancelled.
“I am devastated along with the people of Copenhagen. I love this city. The people are so warm and full of love. I am devastated for the victims, their families and everyone who is in pain,” Styles tweeted† “I’m sorry we couldn’t be together. Please take care of each other. 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 there are more. injured.”
“The situation calls for unity and concern,” they said in a statement.