a gunman who killed three people when heDanish police said on Monday that they acted alone and selected their victims at random, but denied that the attack was related to terrorism.
Prosecutor Soren Harbo told reporters that authorities filed preliminary charges of murder and attempted murder against a 22-year-old Danish man who will be kept in a secure mental health facility for 24 days while authorities investigate the crime.
After the custodial hearing, defense attorney Lewis Hodge said he agreed to have his client undergo a mental examination. He did not comment on the allegations. Police have said the man was known to have mental health service, without elaborating.
Police have yet to identify the cause of Sunday’s attack inside one of Scandinavia’s biggest shopping centres. The suspect carrying the rifle and knife was quickly arrested, and Copenhagen Chief Police Inspector Soren Thomasson said the man also had another gun. He said the firearms were obtained illegally, but did not provide further details.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Fredriksson on Monday described the attack as “unusually brutal”, saying it was “the worst possible nightmare”.
According to Thomson, the three killed were a 17-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, both Danes, and a 47-year-old Russian man. Four more people were admitted to the hospital with gunshot wounds and were in critical but stable condition. In all, about two dozen people were injured, most of them in a stampede after a shooting at Field’s shopping center on the outskirts of the Danish capital.
Gun violence is relatively rare in Denmark. The last shooting of this scale was in February 2015, when a 22-year-old man was killed in a shootout with police following an attack in the capital that killed two people and injured five police officers.
The suspect, who cannot be named by court order, was brought to a packed courtroom before a judge on Monday, facing three preliminary charges of murder and four of attempted murder. This is a step less than formal charges but allows authorities to detain a person during an investigation.
When the court ruled that the hearing should take place behind closed doors, the media were sent outside. It was not immediately clear how the suspect made the request. Police said that he will remain in custody till July 28.
While officials have said there is no indication that anyone helped the man, Copenhagen Police Inspector Danny Rise said the investigation would be complicated.
“We need to put this puzzle together,” Rise said. “And it’s huge.”
Earlier, Thomson said that the police had not found anything so far to prove that it was an act of terrorism. He identified the man as “ethnic den”, a phrase usually used to mean someone was white.
Danish broadcaster TV2 published a grainy photo of the alleged gunman, wearing knee-length shorts, a vest or sleeveless shirt, and holding a rifle in his right hand.
“He seemed very violent and angry,” eyewitness Mahdi al-Wazni told TV2. “He talked to me and said it (rifle) isn’t real because I was filming it. He was very proud of what he was doing.”
Images from the scene showed people running out of malls where people laid flowers on Monday.
Chessandra Stoltz, an 18-year-old student on her way to a Harry Styles concert that was scheduled for Sunday night, described the stampede as shots went off. At first, she and her sister and father thought it was because someone had seen Styles—but she soon realized the panic involved a man who grabbed his baby from a stroller in the chaos. was.
“People were leading us to the exit sign, and we ran to the roof and we were stuck there for a while and then people were panicking everywhere and people crying,” Stoltz said.
Styles’ concert was canceled due to the shooting.
Sunday’s attack comes nearly a week after a shooting in neighboring Norway, where police said a Norwegian man of Iranian descent opened fire during an LGBTQ festival, killing two and injuring more than 20.