Copenhagen shooting: police charge man after three killed

Man will appear before a judge on Monday following attack at shopping centre

Danish police last night charged a suspect with manslaughter following a shooting spree in a Copenhagen shopping centre yesterday which left three people dead. More people were wounded, with three described as being in a critical condition last night.

The suspect will face questioning in front of a judge today.

At a press conference earlier yesterday evening Copenhagen police chief Søren Thomassen said the suspect was a 22-year-old “ethnic Dane” but were unable to say if he acted alone.

The police chief did not give any motive nor was he able to say whether the gunman was known to police.

He said shots had been fired in several locations inside the shopping centre late on Sunday afternoon and that a large police operation had been launched to ensure there were no additional gunmen.

“We have to be completely certain that we have this situation under control,” he said. “This is a massive operation ... we cannot rule out terrorism.”

Police reinforcements were visible around the large Field’s mall in the Amager district between the Danish capital city centre and Copenhagen airport.

Copenhagen’s mayor, Sophie Andersen, wrote in a post on social media: “This is very serious.”

DR public television showed women carrying their children and rescue workers carrying shooting victims away on stretchers.

A TV2 broadcaster interviewed an eye witness who saw more than 100 people rush for the shopping centre exits as the first shots were heard.

One said the gunman had worn dark clothes but had no mask or other face covering.

“We could see that many people suddenly ran towards the exit and then we heard a bang. Then we ran out too,” said Thea Schmidt, a shopper, to TV2.

Police asked via social media for people in the shopping centre to remain inside and asked others to keep away from the area.

By 7pm all roads around the mall were blocked, while helicopters circled overhead and the subway was halted.

Special operations officers surrounded the complex and prevented anyone approaching.

About 650m from the shopping centre is the large multi-purpose hall Royal Arena where a sold-out concert by British singer Harry Styles, scheduled for yesterday evening, was cancelled.

Earlier, the singer wrote on Snapchat: ”My team and I are praying for everyone affected by the Copenhagen shopping centre shooting. I’m shocked.”

The Irish Embassy in Denmark asked any Irish citizens with urgent issues connected to the incident to contact the embassy.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he was “shocked and saddened by the events in Copenhagen. “My deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those killed and injured. Thoughts are with the people of Denmark,” he said in a posting on Twitter last night.

The Danish royal family, cancelled a planned reception to mark the end of Tour de France through Denmark.

A week ago a gunman opened fire near a gay bar in Oslo in neighbouring Norway, killing two people and wounding 21 people.

Derek Scally

Derek Scally

Derek Scally is an Irish Times journalist based in Berlin

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent