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Three dead in Copenhagen shopping center shooting, 22-year-old suspect arrested

#dead #Copenhagen #shopping #center #shooting #22yearold #suspect #arrested

Three people were killed and several injured in a shooting at a Copenhagen shopping center on Sunday, Danish police said, adding they had arrested a suspect, a 22-year-old Dane.

The young man, who witnesses said was armed with a large rifle, was peacefully arrested shortly after police arrived at the large Fields shopping center between the city center and Copenhagen Airport.

“There are three dead and several injured, three of them in critical condition,” Copenhagen police chief Soren Thomassen said at a press conference.

The motives of the suspect, who is described by police as a 22-year-old “ethnic Dane”, remain unclear.

He was known to the police “but only marginally,” said Thomassen. “He’s not someone we particularly know.”

The three dead were a man in his 40s and two young people whose ages were not given.

The head of the investigation said there was speculation on social networks about a racist or other motive, “but I can’t say that we don’t have anything to do with it at the moment.”

However, police confirmed they were investigating videos posted online that claimed to show the suspect armed and pointing a gun at his head.

Thomassen previously said police “couldn’t rule out it’s terrorism,” but they believed the alleged gunman acted alone.

Pictures from the scene showed parents carrying their children as they fled the building and ambulances carrying people away on stretchers.

– “We ran for our lives” –

The shooting happened around 5:30 p.m. and sparked panic at the mall. Many visitors came to the nearby Royal Arena for a concert with British singer Harry Styles, which was cancelled.

“My daughters should go to Harry Styles. They called me to say someone shot. They were in a restaurant when it happened,” Hans Christian Stolz, a 53-year-old Swede who was picking up his children, told AFP.

“We thought at first people were running because they saw Harry Styles, then we understood it was people panicking … We ran for our lives,” his daughter Cassandra said.

“My team and I are praying for everyone involved in the Copenhagen shopping center shooting. I’m shocked,” Styles said in a Snapchat post.

The attack came two days after the start of this year’s Tour de France cycling race in Copenhagen, and Tour organizers released a statement expressing their condolences.

“The entire Tour de France caravan offers its sincere condolences to the victims and their families,” it said.

Witnesses cited by the Danish media described how the suspect had tried to deceive people by saying his gun was a fake in order to trick them into approaching.

“He was psychopathic enough to chase people, but he didn’t run away,” a witness told state television DR.

Other eyewitnesses told Danish media they saw more than 100 people rushing to the exit of the mall when the first shots rang out.

“We saw that many people suddenly ran towards the exit and then we heard a bang,” Thea Schmidt, who was in the mall at the time of the attack, told TV2. “Then we walked out of Field’s too.”

– ‘We heard shots’ –

Police had told people in the building to wait inside for their arrival and urged others to stay away from the area.

Police also asked witnesses to get in touch and urged those who visited the mall to contact their loved ones to reassure them.

“All of a sudden we heard gunshots, I heard 10 gunshots, and we ran as far as we could to take refuge in the toilet,” Isabella told public broadcaster DR. She said she hid in the mall for two hours.

Other witnesses described the shooter as a six-foot-tall man carrying a hunting rifle.

Around 19:30 (17:30 GMT), roads around the mall were closed, the subway closed and a helicopter flew overhead, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.

Heavily armed police held back onlookers and prevented locals from returning to their homes.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Denmark was hit by “a ferocious attack” at a mall where families went to shop or eat.

The shooting comes just over a week after a gunman opened fire near a gay bar in Oslo, neighboring Norway, killing two people and wounding 21 others.

In February 2015, two people were killed and five injured in a series of Islamist-motivated shootings in Copenhagen.

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