Motive unclear in ‘brutal’ shooting at Copenhagen mall

  • A shoe was abandoned in front of the shopping centre Fields, closed for at least a week after Sunday shooting, as police is investigating the crime scene the day after, in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, July 4, 2022. Danish police believe a shopping mall shooting that left three people dead and four others seriously wounded was not terror-related. They said Monday that the gunman acted alone and appears to have selected his victims at random. (Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP) Mads Claus Rasmussen

  • People help a woman in front of the Fields shopping center in Copenhagen, Denmark, Sunday, after a gunman opened fire inside the busy shopping mall. Ritzau Scanpix via AP

  • People react in front of the Field's shopping center in Copenhagen, Denmark Sunday, July 3, 2022. A gunman opened fire inside the busy shopping mall in the Danish capital Sunday, killing a few people and critically wounding a few others, police said. (Olafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix via AP) Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson

  • A bunch of flowers lies in front of the Field's shopping center in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, July 4, 2022. Danish police believe a shopping mall shooting that left three people dead and four others seriously wounded was not terror-related. They said Monday that the gunman acted alone and appears to have selected his victims at random. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) Sergei Grits

  • People are evacuated from Field's shopping center in Copenhagen, Denmark Sunday, July 3, 2022. A gunman opened fire inside the busy shopping mall in the Danish capital Sunday, killing a few people and critically wounding a few others, police said. (Olafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix via AP) Olafur Steinar Rye Gestsson

  • People leave the Field's shopping center in Copenhagen, Denmark Sunday, July 3, 2022. A gunman opened fire inside the busy shopping mall in the Danish capital Sunday, killing a few people and critically wounding a few others, police said. (Olafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix via AP) Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson

  • Shopping centre Field's is closed the day after Sunday's shooting, in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, July 4, 2022. A gunman opened fire inside a busy shopping mall in the Danish capital Sunday, killing a few people and critically wounding a few others, police said. (Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP) Mads Claus Rasmussen

  • Copenhagen Police Chief Inspector Soeren Thomassen gives a status on the investigation of Sunday's shooting in a shopping mall, at the Police Station in Copenhagen, Denmark Monday, July 4, 2022. (Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix via AP) Martin Sylvest

  • Copenhagen Police Chief Inspector Soeren Thomassen gives a status on the investigation of Sunday's shooting in a shopping mall, at the Police Station in Copenhagen, Denmark Monday, July 4, 2022. (Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix via AP) Martin Sylvest

  • A police officer is reflected in a glass door of the entrance of the Field's shopping center in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, July 4, 2022. Danish police believe a shopping mall shooting that left three people dead and four others seriously wounded was not terror-related. They said Monday that the gunman acted alone and appears to have selected his victims at random. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) Sergei Grits

  • A woman carries a bunch of flowers to leave it at an entrance of the Field's shopping center in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, July 4, 2022. Danish police believe a shopping mall shooting that left three people dead and four others seriously wounded was not terror-related. They said Monday that the gunman acted alone and appears to have selected his victims at random. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) Sergei Grits

  • Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, foreground and Minister of justice Mattias Tesfaye lay flowers at the entrance of the Field's shopping center in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, July 4, 2022. Danish police believe a shopping mall shooting that left three people dead and four others seriously wounded was not terror-related. They said Monday that the gunman acted alone and appears to have selected his victims at random. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) Sergei Grits

Published: 7/4/2022 7:41:01 PM
Modified: 7/4/2022 7:38:22 PM

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A gunman who killed three people when he opened fire in a crowded shopping mall acted alone and apparently selected his victims at random, Danish police said Monday, all but ruling out that the attack was related to terrorism.

Authorities filed preliminary charges of murder and attempted murder against a 22-year-old Danish man, who will be held for 24 days in a secure mental health facility while authorities investigate the crime, prosecutor Søren Harbo told reporters.

After the custody hearing, defense lawyer Luise Høj said she agreed to have her client undergo a mental exam. She did not comment on the charges. Police have said the man was known to mental health service without elaborating.

Police have not identified a motive for Sunday’s attack inside one of Scandinavia’s biggest shopping centers. The suspect, carrying a rifle and knife, was quickly arrested, and Copenhagen chief police inspector Søren Thomassen said the man also had access to another gun. He said the firearms were obtained illegally but gave no further details.

“It was the worst possible nightmare,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Monday, calling the attack “unusually brutal.”

The three killed were a 17-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, both Danes, and a 47-year-old Russian man, according to Thomassen. Four more people were hospitalized with gunshot wounds and were in critical but stable condition. In all, around two dozen people were hurt, most in the panicked stampede after the shots rang out at the Field’s shopping center, on the outskirts of the Danish capital.

Gun violence is relatively rare in Denmark. The last shooting on this scale was in February 2015, when a 22-year-old man was killed in a shootout with police after an attack in the capital that left two people dead and five police officers wounded.

The suspect, who cannot be named by court order, was brought before a judge Monday in a packed courtroom to face three preliminary charges of murder and four of attempted murder. That’s a step short of formal charges but allow authorities to keep a person in custody during an investigation.

When the court ruled that the hearing should be held behind close doors, the media were sent out. It wasn’t immediately clear how the suspect pleaded. He will remain in custody until July 28, police said.

While authorities have said there is no indication that anyone helped the man, Copenhagen police inspector Dannie Rise said the investigation would be complicated.

“We need to put together this jigsaw puzzle,” Rise said. ”And it is huge.”

Earlier, Thomassen said police had discovered nothing so far “that can substantiate that this is an act of terrorism.” He has identified the man as an “ethnic Dane,” a phrase typically used to mean 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 rifle) isn’t real as I was filming him. He seemed very proud of what he was doing.”

Images from the scene showed people running out of the mall, where people laid flowers on Monday.

Chassandra Stoltz, an 18-year-old student who was on her way to a Harry Styles concert that was scheduled for Sunday night nearby, described a stampede as the shots rang out. At first, she and her sister and father thought it was because someone had spotted Styles — but she soon realized the panic, including a man who grabbed his child from a stroller in the chaos.

“People were guiding us towards the exit sign, and we ran up the roof and we were stuck there for a while and then people were panicking all over the place and people were crying,” Stoltz said.

The Styles concert was canceled due to the shooting.

Sunday’s attack came about a week after a shooting in neighboring Norway, where police said a Norwegian man of Iranian origin opened fire during a LGBTQ festival, killing two and wounding more than 20.

___

This story has been updated to correct that there are fewer than 30 injured.

___

Ritter reported from Unterseen, Switzerland.


Sign up for our free email updates
Daily Hampshire Gazette Headlines
Daily Hampshire Gazette Contests & Promotions
Daily Hampshire Gazette Evening Top Reads
Daily Hampshire Gazette Breaking News
Daily Hampshire Gazette Obits
Daily Hampshire Gazette Sports
Daily Hampshire Gazette PM Updates
Daily Hampshire Gazette Weekly Top Stories
Daily Hampshire Gazette Valley Advocate

Jobs



Support Local Journalism


Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy