Three people were killed and at least three others were seriously injured in a shooting in Copenhagen on Sunday that sent panicked shoppers fleeing to safety in Denmark’s largest shopping mall, authorities said.
Soren Thomassen, an inspector with the Copenhagen police, said early Monday local time that the dead included a man in his 40s and two young men. He did not say how many people were injured in total, but said three were in critical condition.
He said police arrested a 22-year-old Dane in connection with the shooting, which occurred around 6 p.m. local time. Authorities have not released any information about a possible motive, but believe the man was acting alone.
“We believe the man we have arrested is the killer,” Mr Thomassen said. “He owned a rifle, and he owned the ammunition for that rifle.”
The shooting happened at Field’s Shopping Center9 minutes by metro from central Copenhagen and has over 140 shops including international and Danish fashion brands.
Videos and photos posted on social media show people run out of the mall and ambulances lined up outside.
A shopping mall employee told a local news agency that “a lot of people” ran to seek shelter in the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant at Field’s. Staff barricaded the doors and stayed there for about 45 minutes, the employee said.
One witness, Mahdi Al-Wazni, told TV 2 News that he saw the gunman.
“He seemed violent and angry, and he was screaming as he ran,” he said, adding that he had seen the gunman smashing a window at the mall.
Other witnesses described panic scenes and scenes of employees helping shoppers flee through the back rooms of the store. A woman told TV 2 that she and her family were stopping at a store to buy snacks for their 1-year-old daughter when the family heard a loud bang.
Rikke Olsen said her husband initially thought the noise was someone setting off firecrackers or throwing firecrackers. Then came the commotion by a bunch of mall patrons running towards the family.
Olsen turned and saw a man holding what appeared to be a rifle, which he was loading, she said.
“I turned around and ran as fast as I could hold my 3-year-old boy’s hand,” she said. “I just dragged him with me, and then I lost my grip, and people were stepping on him, because they were running.”
She picked him up and continued running.
In a statement late Sunday, the Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen, called on Danes to unite in the aftermath of the “cruel attack”.
“Several people were killed,” she said. “More people were injured. Innocent families go out to shop or eat. Children, youth and adults. “
“We have all been brutally torn by the bright summer we have just begun,” she continued. “It’s incomprehensible. Hurt. Meaningless. Our beautiful and often very safe capital was transformed in a split second. “
At the time of recording, Harry Styles fans had gathered nearby at the city’s Royal Arena waiting for the former One Direction singer to perform. At around 8 p.m., a crowd of 17,000 was told the concert would be postponed, but 90 minutes later was told that the show had been canceled due to “safety concerns.” BBC reported.
“I am heartbroken with the people of Copenhagen,” said Mr. Styles . say on Twitter. “I love this city. Human love is warm and full of love. I am heartbroken for the victims, their families and all those hurt. I’m sorry we can’t be together. Let’s take care of each other”.
Gun violence in Denmark is relatively rare, at least compared with the United States, where mass shootings in public places have become commonplace. According to a gun violence database kept by the University of Sydney, Denmark one gun death per 100,000 people every year, while the US has a little more than 12.
Christine Chung contribution report.