Denmark is known as a peaceful and relatively safe country, with its last militant attack occurring as far back as 2015.
The sudden gun violence by a 22-year-old Danish man, which took the lives of three people, wounding and traumatising many others, shook up the Danish community.
Here’s everything that has been reported about the tragic shooting thus far.
Location: Fields Mall in Copenhagen, Denmark
The Copenhagen Mall Shooting took place in one of Denmark’s largest malls.
It has multiple floors and contains 135 shops and restaurants. It is located at the outskirts of Denmark’s capital, close to a subway line that rides to the city centre.
Less than a mile away from the shooting location is the Royal Arena, a 17,000-capacity venue where Harry Styles was supposed to perform on Sunday, except it was later cancelled.
Sequence of Events
The shootout started in the late afternoon on Sunday (3 July).
The 22-year-old shooter was first captured on video by a witness called Madhi Al-wazani. He was wearing shorts and a short-sleeved tank top, while touting a rifle in his left hand.
It showed the man stopping momentarily as he rested his rifle on his shoulder, then he sprinted through the shopping complex and opened fire.
During the ensuing violence, three people were killed and three others were wounded.
For the fatal casualties, it was said to be a man in his forties and two “young people”, a man and a woman. No additional details were provided.
The Copenhagen police were alerted to the shootout at 5:37pm local time.
The suspect was apprehended by the deployed officers at 5:48pm.
Afterwards, the police launched a massive search operation throughout the local New Zealand to search for any possible accomplices, before determining that the 22-year-old man had been working alone.
Reporters at the scene photographed images of casualties being carried into ambulances and the local authorities clad in tactical gear patrolling the cordoned-off mall.
The 22YO Suspect
Investigations thus far have shown that the attack was not racially motivated, though later evidence may prove otherwise.
According to Copenhagen police inspector Søren Thomassen, the suspect was known to the police “but only peripherally”.
From the phrasing, it indicates that the suspect has been on the police watchlist but not a high-priority target, likely because he had committed petty crimes, prior to the shootout.
The 22-year-old Danish man has been charged with manslaughter and will be brought before a judge for questioning on Monday.
The Fate of the Victims
As mentioned before, three were killed at the scene, while another three are wounded and in critical condition.
They were immediately conveyed to Rigshospitalet, the capital’s main hospital.
On early Sunday evening, a spokesperson confirmed that the medical facility had received “a small group of patients” for treatment.
Extra surgeons and nurses were called in.
The capital’s regional health service has urged anyone who is suffering from “minor injuries” to contact an alternate number for assistance in order to keep the number 112 free for life-threatening injuries and illnesses.
The Danish Red Cross has also tweeted a helpline which offers counselling to anyone involved in the shooting.
The humanitarian organisation’s tweet wrote: “If you need to talk to someone about the evening’s terrible incident in Fields, the Victim Counselling in the Capital is open all night.”
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When Danish tabloid BT released the unverified video footage of the shooter that was taken by the witness Ahhdi Al-wazni, they took the opportunity to interview him as well.
Al-wazni told BT reporters that the shooter appeared to be “very aggressive” and he was shouting different things.
For another witness that was closer to the shootout, named Rikke Levandovski, he remembers that everyone initially assumed that he was just a thief.
However, once the gunshots rang out, Levandovski dodged into a store and threw himself behind a counter.
He recounted that the 22-year-old assailant was “just shooting into the crowd”, his rifle aimed at neither the ceiling nor the floor.
Another witness who identifies herself as Isabella, was with a friend when they heard the gun fire.
She heard ten shots ringing out and then they ducked into the toilet as fast as they possibly could. When they hid inside, there were at least 11 people present.
Ever since the incident, more footage of the pandemonium has surfaced.
People could be seen running away from the mall in panic, with gunshots and sirens sounding in the background.
In an interview with BBC News, Maximilian von Reteln confessed that the gravity of the situation didn’t hit until he saw people running out “screaming” and “crying”, as he didn’t associate the loud noises to gunshot at first.
The thought that gun violence was happening at Fields right then and there, had been unthinkable, until the reality officially sunk in.
Multiple witnesses observed more than 100 people running out of Fields.
Harry Style’s Concert Nearby
That very same evening, Harry Style was scheduled to perform at the Royal Arena.
Due to the shootout happening less than a mile away, gathered fans were told to evacuate from the premise because of safety concerns.
Fans could be seen flitting towards the Metro station to go home.
On Harry Style’s verified Twitter account, he wrote, “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.
“I’m sorry we couldn’t be together. Please look after each other.”
The same message was shared on his SnapChat as well.
Shortly after the attack happened, the Prime Minister Mette Frederisken issued a public statement late on Sunday.
“Denmark was hit by a cruel attack on Sunday night. Several were killed. Even more wounded. Innocent families shopping or eating out. Children, adolescents, adults.”
She added, “Our beautiful and usually so safe capital was changed in a split second. I want to encourage the Danes to stand together and support each other in this difficult time.”
The Danish royal family also voiced their shock at the news. Collectively, Queen Margrethe, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary expressed their deepest sympathy for the victims, their family members, and those affected by the violent tragedy.
They said in a joint statement, “The situation calls for unity and care, and we would like to thank the police, the emergency services and the health authorities for their quick and effective efforts during these hours.”
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