COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Danish police say they believe a shooting at a shopping mall that killed three people and seriously injured four others is not related to terrorism. They said Monday that the gunman had acted alone and appeared to have chosen his prey at random.
Copenhagen’s chief police inspector Soren Thomasen said the gunmen shot dead a 17-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, both Dennis and a 47-year-old Russian, on Sunday afternoon. Field’s shopping mall is one of the largest in Scandinavia.
Four others – two Danish and two Swedish nationals – were treated for gunshot wounds and their condition was serious but stable, Thomasen said. He added that several others were slightly injured while fleeing the shopping mall.
Thomasen said police had no indication that anyone had helped the gunman, identified as 22-year-old Dan. He said that while the motive was unclear, there was nothing to indicate terrorism and the suspect would be sentenced on initial charges of murder after Monday.
“In our investigation, or the documents we have reviewed, or the things we have found, or the statements we have received from witnesses, there is nothing that can prove that this is an act of terrorism,” he said.
He confirmed that the suspect was familiar with mental health services but gave no further information.
Danish broadcaster TV 2 has released a granular image of the alleged gunman, a man wearing knee-length shorts, a vest or sleeveless shirt and a rifle in his right hand.
“He looked very violent and angry,” eyewitness Mahdi al-Wazni told TV2. “He talked to me and said it wasn’t real (rifle) because I was portraying him. He’s very proud of what he’s doing.”
Thomasen said the suspect was next to the rifle when apprehended, “We also know he had a gun and he was carrying a knife.”
Pictures obtained from the scene show people fleeing the mall in panic. After the shooting, a large group of heavily armed police officers patrolled the area, with several fire department vehicles also parked outside the mall.
“It’s pure terror. It’s horrible,” said Hans Christian Stoltz, a 53-year-old IT consultant who was bringing his daughters to perform at a scheduled concert Sunday night near the Harry Styles Mall. “You can imagine how a person can do this with other people, but it’s beyond that … beyond anything possible.”
The concert was canceled due to shooting.
On Snapchat, Stiles wrote: “My team and I pray for everyone involved in the Copenhagen shopping mall shooting. I’m shocked. Love H.”
It was the worst gun attack in Denmark since February 2015, when a 22-year-old man was killed in a gunfight with police after a shooting in the capital that left two dead and five police officers injured. The attack is believed to have been inspired by Islamic extremism.
Danish Prime Minister Mate Fredericksen called Sunday’s shooting a “brutal attack.”
“It’s understandable. Heartbreaking. Meaningless,” he said. “Our beautiful and usually so safe capital was changed in a split second.”
Field’s shopping center is for a line from a subway station on the outskirts of Copenhagen that connects the city center to the international airport. A large highway also runs adjacent to the mall.
The shooting comes a week after a mass shooting in neighboring Norway, where police say a Norwegian man of Iranian descent opened fire during the LGBTQ festival, killing two and injuring more than 20.
Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.