A killing spree sends Copenhagen into shock in the middle of summer. A man shoots three people in a mall. Investigators believe they have caught the perpetrator. But many questions are still open.
After the killing spree in Copenhagen with three dead, the investigators are puzzling over the motive of the alleged perpetrator. The 22-year-old was brought before a magistrate on Monday.
The alleged perpetrator of the Copenhagen shooting is committed to a closed psychiatric ward for 24 days. The Danish media reported unanimously from the hearing of the suspect on Monday. Thus, the suspect had to spend the pre-trial detention in the psychiatric ward.
He is accused of killing three people and seriously injuring four in a shopping center in the south of the city early Sunday evening. The Dane is said to have carried out the attack alone. Investigators see no evidence of a terrorist motive. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen spoke on Monday of the “worst nightmare” for her country.
The suspect is still silent
The blond man appeared in court on Monday in a blue T-shirt. The interrogation of the alleged perpetrator took place behind closed doors at the request of the prosecution. A public hearing could stand in the way of clarifying the case, it was said as the reason. According to his defense attorney, the Dane has not yet commented on the allegations. Earlier this morning, Copenhagen police chief Søren Thomassen said at a press conference: “We listened to the suspect. He stated that it was he who was out there.”
Around 5:35 p.m., the police received the first reports of shots being fired in the shopping center, which is one of the largest in Denmark. On the Sunday in the summer holidays, many people stayed in the center, which, in addition to numerous shops, also includes restaurants and a cinema. According to previous knowledge, the perpetrator fired shots at apparently randomly selected victims in two places in the building.
A 47-year-old Russian who lived in Denmark and two Danish 17-year-olds, a girl and a boy, died. Four people were seriously injured: a 40-year-old and a 19-year-old Danish woman and a 50-year-old man and a 16-year-old from Sweden. Three of the injured were out of danger as of Monday afternoon.
Three other people were treated for possible injuries from grazing shots, the police said in a statement. 20 people were slightly injured when they escaped from the shopping center. A spokesman for the capital region said the injuries were about broken arms and legs.
The man was in contact with a psychiatrist
Shortly after the crime – at 5:48 p.m. – police officers arrested the alleged perpetrator in the immediate vicinity of the shopping center. During the arrest, which the police said was “relatively undramatic”, he had a gun and a knife with him. He also had access to a pistol, police chief Thomassen said on Monday. “As it stands at the moment, the weapons are allowed, but he was not authorized to do so.” According to the tabloid “Ekstra Bladet”, the suspect is said to be a member of a shooting club in Copenhagen.
The man had had contact with psychiatry in the past, Thomassen said. According to a report on Danish television, the 22-year-old contacted a crisis hotline shortly before the crime. The investigators did not confirm this at first.
Thomassen also did not want to comment on a possible motive. Already on Monday night he had emphasized that there was no evidence of a racist background that was speculated on social media. Amateur video from inside the building showed a man walking past shops with a long gun in hand. Other shaky footage showed people running around in panic. Shots and screams could be heard.
Horror and sadness instead of a festive mood
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was dismayed by the crime. “I think we’ve rarely experienced such a brutal contrast as yesterday,” said Frederiksen on Monday. She has rarely seen so many happy people as at the weekend when the Danes celebrated the start of the Tour de France in their own country and at the Roskilde Music Festival. “In a split second, the celebration and joy stopped, and the worst that could happen hit us.”
The heads of government of the Nordic neighboring countries offered their support to Denmark. The federal government expressed its condolences to the victims of the killing spree. “Our thoughts are with the victims’ families,” said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit in Berlin.
Gradually, some barriers around the crime scene were lifted on Monday. The shopping center itself remained cordoned off. It will remain closed for at least a week. Many people laid flowers in front of the center throughout the day. The officials are still massive on site, the police tweeted. However, customers could pick up their cars from the parking garage.
There was also a lot of police to be seen in the city itself on Monday. Justice Minister Mattias Tesfaye said people could continue to move around the city safely. The large police presence is intended to reinforce this sense of security. Copenhagen Mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen announced on Twitter that the city was planning a memorial service for the victims of the killing spree.
A performance by British singer Harry Styles at a nearby concert hall was canceled because of the attack. The pop star offered his condolences to the victims and their families. “I’m heartbroken, as are the people of Copenhagen,” wrote the 28-year-old on Twitter. “I’m sorry we couldn’t be together. Please take care of each other.”