A gunman killed three people when he got upDanish police said on Monday they acted alone and apparently chose his victims at random, but ruled out the attack was linked to terrorism.
Prosecutor Soren Harbo told reporters that authorities have brought 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.
After the custody hearing, defense attorney Louise Hogg said she agreed to give her client a mental exam. It did not comment on the accusations. Police said the man was known to the mental health service, without elaborating.
Police have not determined a motive for Sunday’s attack inside one of Scandinavia’s largest shopping malls. The suspect, who was carrying a gun and a knife, was quickly arrested, and Copenhagen’s chief inspector of police Soren Thomassen said the man also had access to another gun. He said the firearms were illegally obtained but did not elaborate.
“It was the worst possible nightmare,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Monday, describing the attack as “unusually brutal”.
Thomasen said the three dead were a 17-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, both Danes, and a 47-year-old Russian man. Four other people were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds and are in a critical but stable condition. In all, about two dozen people were injured, most of whom panicked after the shooting rang out in the shopping center in Feld, on the outskirts of the Danish capital.
Gun violence is relatively rare in Denmark. The last shooting of this magnitude was in February 2015, when a 22-year-old man was killed in a shootout with police after an attack in the capital killed two people and wounded five police officers.
The suspect, whose name cannot be released by court order, appeared before a judge on Monday in a crowded courtroom to face three preliminary counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder. This is a step below the formal charges but allows authorities to detain the person during the investigation.
When the court ruled that the hearing should be held behind closed doors, the media was dispatched. It was not immediately clear how the suspect defended. Police said he will remain in custody until July 28.
While authorities said there was no indication that anyone helped the man, Copenhagen Police Inspector Danny Reese said the investigation would be complicated.
“We need to put this puzzle together,” said Rice. “It is huge.”
Thomasen had previously said that police had not yet discovered anything “that could prove that this was an act of terrorism”. He identified the man as an “ethnic Dane,” a phrase commonly used to indicate that a person is white.
Denmark’s TV2 channel published a grainy photo of the alleged gunman, a man in knee-length shorts and a sleeveless jacket or shirt and holding what appears to be a rifle in his right hand.
“He looked very violent and angry,” eyewitness Mahdi Wazni told TV2. “He talked to me and said it wasn’t real because I was filming him. He seemed so proud of what he was doing.”
Pictures from the site showed people running outside the mall as people laid flowers on Monday.
Chasandra Stoltz, an 18-year-old sophomore who was on her way to a Harry Styles concert that was scheduled for Sunday night nearby, described a stampede as the shots went off. At first, she, her sister, and her dad thought it was because someone had spotted patterns — but she soon caught the panic, including a man who grabbed his baby from a stroller in disarray.
“People were walking us toward the exit sign, and we ran to the rooftop and we were stuck there for a while, then people panicked all over and people were crying,” Stoltz said.
Styles’ concert was canceled due to the shooting.
Sunday’s attack came about a week after a shooting in neighboring Norway, in which police said a Norwegian man of Iranian descent opened fire during a gay festival, killing two people and wounding more than 20.