Copenhagen mall shooting: Suspect had mental health issues

Police say the suspect who was arrested after killing at least three people at a mall had mental health issues.

Denmark police guarding a shopping mall
Police guard an area in front of the Field's shopping centre in Copenhagen [Sergei Grits/AP Photo]

The suspect in a weekend shooting at a Copenhagen mall in which three people were killed was known to mental health services, according to Denmark’s police.

“Our suspect is also known among psychiatric services, beyond that I do not wish to comment,” Copenhagen police chief Soren Thomassen told a news conference on Monday.

Later on Monday, a police statement said the suspect was remanded in a closed psychiatric ward. It came after a court ruled that he should be kept in custody for at least 24 days, which can then be extended.

Thomassen earlier said that the victims appeared to have been randomly targeted and there was nothing to indicate it was an act of terror.

“Our assessment is that the victims were random, that it isn’t motivated by gender or something else,” Thomassen said.

The police chief could not yet comment on a motive, but said there seemed to have been preparations before the attack and that the 22-year-old suspect was not aided by anyone else.

“As things stand, it seems he was acting alone,” he said.

People embrace outside Fields shopping centre, after Danish police said they received reports of a shooting at the site, in Copenhagen
People embrace outside Fields shopping centre in Copenhagen on July 3 [Ritzau Scanpix/Olafur Steinar Gestsson via Reuters]

The three killed have been identified as a Danish teenage girl and boy, both aged 17, and a 47-year-old Russian citizen residing in Denmark.

Another four were injured in the shooting: two Danish women, aged 19 and 40, and two Swedish citizens, a 50-year-old man and a 16-year-old woman.

Police confirmed that the suspect was present at the mall at the time of the shooting and is known to the police “but only peripherally”.

They added that they believe videos of the suspect circulating since Sunday evening on social media to be authentic.

In some of the images, the young man can be seen posing with weapons, mimicking suicide gestures and talking about psychiatric medication “that does not work”.

The YouTube and Instagram accounts believed to belong to the suspect were closed overnight, according to the AFP news agency.

The shooting occurred on Sunday afternoon at the busy Fields shopping mall, located between the city centre and Copenhagen airport.

‘Sufficiently psychopathic’

According to police, the attacker was armed with a rifle, a pistol and a knife, and while the guns were not believed to be illegal, the suspect did not have a licence for them.

Witnesses quoted by the Danish media described how the suspect had tried to trick people by saying his weapon was fake to get them to approach.

“He was sufficiently psychopathic to go and hunt people, but he wasn’t running,” one witness told public broadcaster DR.

Other witnesses told Danish media they had seen more than 100 people rush towards the mall’s exit as the first shots were fired.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen denounced the “cruel attack” in a statement on Sunday evening.

“Our beautiful and usually so safe capital was changed in a split second,” she said.

Source: News Agencies