HomeNewsCopenhagen shooting: Three dead as gunman opens fire at shopping centre

Copenhagen shooting: Three dead as gunman opens fire at shopping centre

Three people were shot dead at a shopping centre in Copenhagen on Sunday.

A 22-year-old “ethnically Danish” man was arrested in connection with the shooting at Field’s mall in the Danish capital.

Danish police said three people were killed and three others remained in a critical condition.

Copenhagen police inspector Soren Thomassen said the three victims were a man in his 40s and “two young people”.

He said that terrorism could not be ruled out: “We do not have information that others are involved. This is what we know now.”

Inspector Thomassen said it was too early to speculate on the motive for the shooting, which happened in the late afternoon at Field’s, one of the biggest shopping malls in Scandinavia, located on the outskirts of Copenhagen.

Emotional scenes as crowds escape the shooting on Sunday - OLAFUR STEINAR GESTSSON/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP
Emotional scenes as crowds escape the shooting on Sunday – OLAFUR STEINAR GESTSSON/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP

When the shots rang out, some people hid in shops while others fled in a panicked stampede, according to witnesses.

“It is pure terror. This is awful,” said Hans Christian Stoltz, a 53-year-old IT consultant, who was bringing his daughters to see Harry Styles perform a concert scheduled for Sunday night near the mall.

“You might wonder how a person can do this to another human being, but it’s beyond anything that’s possible.”

Police said they were first alerted to the shooting at 5.36pm local time. Heavily armed police officers arrived at the scene, with several fire department vehicles also parked outside the mall.

“We’re on the scene, shots were fired and several people have been hit,” they said.

‘Very serious’

Sophie H. Andersen, the mayor of Copenhagen, tweeted: “Terrible reports of shooting in Fields. We do not yet know for sure how many were injured or dead, but it is very serious.”

The capital’s main hospital, Rigshospitalet, had received a “small group of patients” for treatment, possibly more than three, a spokesman said. It had called in extra staff, including surgeons and nurses.

An ambulance and armed police at the scene - OLAFUR STEINAR GESTSSON/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP
An ambulance and armed police at the scene – OLAFUR STEINAR GESTSSON/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP

Images from the scene showed people running out of the mall, and Denmark’s TV2 broadcaster posted a photo of a man being put on a stretcher. Witnesses said people were crying and hid in shops.

Witnesses quoted by Danish media said they saw more than 100 people rush towards the mall’s exit as the first shots were heard.

People flee the Fields shopping centre in Copenhagen during evacuation by armed police - Olafur Steinar Gestsson/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
People flee the Fields shopping centre in Copenhagen during evacuation by armed police – Olafur Steinar Gestsson/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Danish tabloid BT published unverified video footage it said was shot by a witness to the attack, Mahdi Al-wazni, showing a man with a large rifle walking through the mall and swinging it around his shoulders.

“He seemed very aggressive and shouted different things,” Mr Al-wazni told BT.

Footage published by tabloid Ekstra Bladet showed one person being carried by rescue workers into an ambulance on a stretcher.

“People first thought it was a thief … Then I suddenly hear shots and threw myself behind the counter inside the store,” a witness, Rikke Levandovski, told broadcaster TV2.

“He is just shooting into the crowd, not up in ceiling or into the floor.”

Locals run away from Fields shopping centre in Copenhagen where shots were fired - Olafur Steinar Gestsson/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Locals run away from Fields shopping centre in Copenhagen where shots were fired – Olafur Steinar Gestsson/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

“My friend and I … suddenly we hear shots. I hear about 10 shots and then run as fast as we can into a toilet. We squeeze into this tiny toilet where we are around 11 people,” a witness who gave her name as Isabella told public broadcaster DR.

Laurits Hermansen told Danish broadcaster DR that he was in a clothing store at the shopping centre with his family when he heard “three-four bangs. Really loud bangs. It sounded like the shots were being fired just next to the store.”

Danish media reported that the Harry Styles concert, scheduled at the nearby Royal Arena, was called off.

Shortly after the shooting, the royal palace said a reception with Crown Prince Frederik connected to the Tour de France cycling race had been cancelled.

The shooting comes just over a week after a gunman opened fire near a gay bar in Oslo in neighbouring Norway, killing two people and wounding 21 others.

Terror threat level ‘serious’

The terrorist threat against Denmark is currently assessed to be “serious”, with the biggest threat coming from “militant Islamism”, according to the latest report from the Danish Security and Intelligence Service.

The threat to Denmark from Right-wing extremists is considered at a “general” level, which means there is capability and/or intent and possibly planning.

Denmark last saw a militant attack in 2015, when two people were killed and six police officers wounded when a lone gunman shot and killed a man outside a culture centre hosting a debate on freedom of speech, and later killed a person outside a Jewish synagogue in central Copenhagen.

That gunman was killed in a shoot-out with police.

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