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LATEST: Court remands Copenhagen shooting suspect into psychiatric care

A Copenhagen court on Monday remanded into a psychiatric care facility the 22-year-old suspect accused of shooting dead three people in a shopping mall at the weekend, police said.

LATEST: Court remands Copenhagen shooting suspect into psychiatric care
Shopping centre Field's is closed for at least a week after the shooting, and the police are still investigating the crime scene. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen / Scanpix 2022.

On Monday afternoon, the 22-year-old man appeared before a judge in the Copenhagen City Court. He was taken to court by armed officers.

Wearing a blue t-shirt, he listened as the indictment for murder was read out, before the hearing continued behind closed doors.

He was charged with having committed three murders and seven attempted murders in the shopping centre Field’s on Amager in Copenhagen on Sunday.

After a nearly two-hour-long hearing, a judge ruled that the man would be remanded in a closed psychiatric ward for 24 days, which can then be extended, according to police.

The 22-year-old is charged with killing a 47-year-old man, a 17-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy. In addition, he is charged with seven counts of attempted murder. The charges against him were read out at the beginning of the court hearing by senior plaintiff Søren Harbo.

Police said earlier today at a news conference that the 22 year-old had a history of mental health illness. 

According to public broadcaster DR, citing several unnamed sources, the suspected gunman had tried to reach a psychological help line shortly before the attack, but authorities would not confirm this.

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

The shooter, who was believed to have acted alone, was known to the police “but only peripherally”.

“He’s not someone we particularly know,” Copenhagen police chief Thomassen told a news conference after the rare mass shooting, the first since February 2015.

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

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

According to police, the shooter 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 license for them.

Police have said they believe videos of the suspect circulating since Sunday evening on social media to be authentic.

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

YouTube and Instagram accounts believed to belong to the suspect were closed overnight, AFP noted.

The three killed have been identified as a Danish woman and man, 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.

Copenhagen Police said in a press release on Monday afternoon that 20 people had suffered minor injuries.

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

The young suspect, who according to witnesses was armed with a large rifle, was arrested peacefully shortly after police arrived at the large Field’s shopping mall, located between the city centre and Copenhagen airport.

On social networks, people had been speculating about a racist motive, or some other motive, the head of the investigation said, “but I cannot say that we have anything which supports that at this moment.”

Images from the scene showed parents carrying their children as they fled the building and ambulance personnel taking people away on stretchers.

‘Cruel attack’

“Denmark was hit by a cruel attack on Sunday night. Several were killed. Even more wounded. Innocent families shopping or eating out,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in a statement.

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

On Monday afternoon, Frederiksen and Minister of Justice Mattias Tesfaye visited the Field’s shopping mall to hold a short press conference outside.

She thanked store employees and guards who helped the wounded and evacuated people from Field’s.  She also encouraged people to receive crisis help if they needed it.

The shooting occurred around 5:30 pm, causing panic in the mall. Many visitors were there for a concert with British singer Harry Styles at the nearby Royal Arena, which was cancelled.

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

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

Styles said he was devastated by news of the attack.

“I’m heartbroken along with the people of Copenhagen. I adore this city,” the singer posted on Twitter.

“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 attack occurred two days after this year’s Tour de France cycling competition started from Copenhagen, and the Tour organisers released a statement expressing their sympathy.

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

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

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

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

“We could see 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 broadcaster TV2. “Then we ran out of Field’s too.”

Police had urged people in the building to wait inside for their arrival, calling on others to keep away from the area.

“All of a sudden we heard gunshots, I heard 10 shots, and we ran as far as we could to take refuge in the toilet,” Isabella told public broadcaster DR.

She said she had hidden in the mall for two hours.

Other witnesses described the gunman as a man around 1.8 metres tall carrying a hunting rifle.

Footage of the arrest shows the suspect, wearing a white jumpsuit to preserve DNA evidence, being picked up by officers.

The Danish royal family said their “thoughts and deepest sympathy are with the victims and their relatives and all those affected by the tragedy”.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said she was “greatly saddened to hear about the shocking act of violence” while Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said his “thoughts go to the victims and their relatives and to the relief crews who are currently working to save lives”.

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

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

Member comments

  1. I remember that in 2002 a policeman shot dead a teenager in Køge for stealing some chocolate from a kiosk. Yesterday a man kills 3 and wounds 4 in a shopping mall and the police arrest him?

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COPENHAGEN

Three great Copenhagen open air swimming spots

On a warm day — or for the Danes, even on a cold day — a dip in Copenhagen's harbors and beaches can do just the trick. Here are three of our favourite spots for an open air swim in Denmark's capital city and advice on where not to swim.

Three great Copenhagen open air swimming spots

Amager Strandpark — a beach’s beach 

If you’re looking for white sand beaches and room to spread out a towel (as long as you get there early enough), Amager Strandpark is your best bet. It’s about 25 minutes by bike or via metro line 2 from downtown Copenhagen. 

Children play on popular Copenhagen beach Amager Strandpark. Photo: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix

Amager Strandpark offers 4.6 km of beachfront real estate with areas for picnicking, ball games, and, of course, swimming. 

It’s also prime territory for watersports (kayaking, anyone?) and the Copenhagen Surf School offers windsurfing lessons for beginners. 

The Islands Brygge harbour bath offers fantastic views of the city. Photo: Kasper Palsnov/Ritzau Scanpix

Islands Brygge Havnebad — an urban swimming experience 

A stone’s throw from the city center, Islands Brygge is perhaps Copenhagen’s most iconic urban swimming spot. 

The Harbour bath boasts three diving platforms as well as five semi-inclosed pools, two designated for children. 

Svanemølle Beach is a hop, skip and a jump from the fashionable Østerbro neighborhood. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Svanemølle Strand 

Literally “swan mill beach” in Danish, this small beach in Østerbro is a favorite haunt for families with young children since the tide comes in very slowly. For the grown-ups, a massive 130-meter pier offers access to deep water. 

Places NOT to swim 

It’s not permitted to swim in the canals at Nyhavn or in Copenhagen’s famous lakes (though with the summer algae bloom, you probably wouldn’t want to anyway). As a rule of thumb, anywhere without a lifeguard in high season or without ladders in and out of the water should be avoided. 

The map below shows the three recommended swimming spots. Zoom in to see where they are in Copenhagen.

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