Denmark is discussing problems with the care of the mentally ill after the killing spree in Copenhagen. Thousands gathered outside the scene Tuesday night to commemorate the three fatalities in the attack.
After the killing spree in Copenhagen, thousands of people commemorated the three victims in front of the crime scene with emotional speeches, songs and a minute’s silence.
“A sick man opened fire – and suddenly our bright summer was taken from us,” said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen at the celebration, which was also attended by the Danish Crown Prince Frederik and his son Christian. “It is very touching and very moving to be here,” said the Crown Prince. “My thoughts are with the victims and their families.”
Mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen called on the residents of Copenhagen not to let the tragedy take their city away: “We will not be intimidated.”
A 22-year-old is suspected of killing three people and seriously injuring four others in a shopping center in the south of the Danish capital on Sunday. According to the police, three people were also treated for injuries caused by possible grazing shots. The alleged perpetrator was arrested shortly after the crime. He will spend his pre-trial detention in a closed psychiatric ward.
Debate on dealing with the mentally ill
According to the police, the man was already known to the psychiatric ward. The case has sparked a debate in Denmark about how to deal with mentally ill people. “You can make all sorts of assumptions: Was the perpetrator mentally ill? Was he in psychiatry? Did he ask for help but was not understood?” said psychiatric professor Poul Videbech from the University of Copenhagen on Danish television.
In order to prevent such an act from being repeated, a thorough investigation must be carried out into what preceded it: “Out of consideration for the victims, the bereaved – and in this way for all of us – we have to learn the maximum from such a terrible story”. said Videbech.
According to estimates by the chair of the Danish Psychiatric Society, psychiatric professor Merete Nordentoft, around a third more staff would be needed in psychiatry to provide appropriate care for the mentally ill. “I agree with those who are out there thinking that the system is under so much pressure that things like this can happen.”
According to research by the broadcaster DR, the alleged gunman tried to reach a crisis hotline before the crime. During the pre-trial detention, the suspect’s mental state will be examined. However, details of his history are not yet known. The motive for the crime is still unclear. But terror shouldn’t be behind it.
Murder weapons are said to come from a rifle club
The suspect was carrying a rifle and a knife when he was arrested. He also had access to a handgun, according to police. According to information from the television station TV2 News, the man’s murder weapons are said to have come from a rifle club. A person close to the suspect should therefore be a member of the club and have permission to keep weapons of the type used at home. The police initially did not confirm the information.
The attack killed two Danish 17-year-olds – a boy and a girl – and a Russian man residing in Denmark. The police said in a statement that the man was 46 years old. She had previously spoken of a 47-year-old.
One of the teenagers had worked at the cinema attached to the mall. “It is with great sadness that we have to confirm that one of our young cinema employees lost his life in the terrible and incomprehensible tragedy on Sunday,” said operator Nordisk Film Biografer on Tuesday on Facebook. “We are deeply touched and our thoughts and sympathy are with the relatives.”
The colleagues of the deceased teenager would receive psychological help, the Facebook post said. All of the operator’s cinemas in the country were closed on Tuesday – “out of respect for the victims – and to discuss the situation with our employees”. The entire shopping center where the attack took place will remain closed at least until next Monday.