At least three people were killed when a gunman opened fire in a Copenhagen shopping mall Sunday, police said. Several others were wounded, including three who are in critical condition, police inspector Søren Thomassen said.
The suspect, who is in custody, is a 22-year-old Danish man who was detained near the Fields shopping mall, said Thomassen, head of the Copenhagen police operations unit.
Thomassen said the three victims were a man in his 40s and “two young people.”
Earlier Sunday, Thomassen said it was too early to speculate on a motive but said that terror couldn’t be immediately ruled out. He noted police “do not have information that others are involved. This is what we know now.”
Police said later Sunday that the suspect was in possession of a rifle and ammunition when he was arrested. He is charged with manslaughter and is expected to appear before a judge on Monday.
He said police received the first reports of a shooting at 5:37 pm local time, and arrested the suspect 11 minutes later. Thomassen described the suspect 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.”
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the Scandinavian country had been hit by a “cruel attack.”
“It’s incomprehensible. Heartbreaking. Pointless,” she said. “Our beautiful and usually so safe capital was changed in a split second.”
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.
Laurits Hermansen told Danish broadcaster DR that he was in a clothing store at the shopping center 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.”
The shopping center is on the outskirts of Copenhagen just across from a subway station for a line that connects the city center with the international airport. A major highway also runs adjacent to the mall.
A concert by former One Direction band member Harry Styles that had been scheduled to be held Sunday night at the nearby Royal Arena was canceled.
“I’m heartbroken along with the people of Copenhagen. I adore this city. The people are so warm and full of love. I’m devastated for the victims, their families, and everyone hurting,” Styles tweeted† “I’m sorry we couldn’t be together. Please look after each other. H.”
The royal palace said a reception with Crown Prince Frederik connected to the Tour de France cycling race had been canceled. The first three stages of the race were held in Denmark this year. The reception was due to be held on the royal yacht that is moored in Soenderborg, the town where the third stage 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 have lost their lives and that even more have been injured.”
“The situation calls for unity and care,” they said in a statement.