At least three people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a Copenhagen shopping mall on Sunday, police said. Several other people were injured, including three in critical condition, police inspector Søren Thomassen said.
The suspect, who is in custody, is a 22-year-old Dane who was arrested near Fields shopping center, said Thomassen, head of Copenhagen’s police operations unit.
Thomassen said the three victims were a man in his 40s and “two young people.”
Earlier on Sunday, Thomassen said it was too early to speculate on a motive, but said terror could not be immediately ruled out. He noted that the police “do not have information indicating that other people are involved. That is what we know now”.
Police said later Sunday the suspect was in possession of a gun 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 a “ethnic Dane,” an expression typically used to mean someone is white.
Danish broadcaster TV2 released a grainy photo of the alleged shooter, a man wearing knee-length shorts, a vest or sleeveless shirt and holding what appeared to be a gun in his right hand. “He seemed very violent and angry,” eyewitness Mahdi Al-Wazni told TV2. “He spoke to me and told me that (the gun) wasn’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 had been hit by a “cruel attack”.
“It’s incomprehensible. Heartbreaking. Needless,” she said. “Our beautiful and usually so safe capital was changed in a split second.”
Footage from the scene showed people running out of the mall and Danish broadcaster TV2 posted a photo of a man being put on a stretcher. Witnesses said people were crying and hiding in stores.
Laurits Hermansen told Danish TV channel DR he was in a clothing store in the mall with his family when he heard “three, four bangs. Very loud bangs. It sounded like the gunshots fire were being fired right next to the store”.
The mall is on the outskirts of Copenhagen, just opposite a metro station for a line that connects the city center to the international airport. A main highway also passes by the mall.
A gig by former One Direction band member Harry Styles due to take place on Sunday night at the nearby Royal Arena has been cancelled.
“I am heartbroken 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 suffering,” 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 took place in Denmark this year. The reception was to take place on the royal yacht moored in Soenderborg, the town where the third leg 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 lost their lives and many more were injured.”
“The situation calls for unity and attention,” they said in a statement.