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Danish police gather hundreds of witness accounts in Field’s investigation

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish police gather hundreds of witness accounts in Field’s investigation
Police officers at the Field's shopping mall in Copenhagen following its reopening on July 11th. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

An unusually large volume of witness accounts and other material will be drawn upon during ongoing investigations into the lethal armed attack at Copenhagen shopping mall Field’s in July this year.

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A long list of witness testimonies, along with texts and weapons discoveries are among evidence to be scrutinised by police, it emerged during a hearing to extend the detention of the suspect on Thursday.

The suspect was remanded in police custody for a further four weeks following the hearing at Copenhagen City Court.

Three people were killed and several wounded when a suspected 22-year-old shooter attacked the Field’s shopping mall at Ørestad on the outskirts of Copenhagen on July 3rd.

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The victims included a young man and woman, both aged 17, and a 46-year-old Russian national with Danish residency. Four people were critically injured but survived and a further three suffered bullet wounds. 20 people were injured while fleeing the area.

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The man has been detained at a secure psychiatric unit and will now remain there until at least December 1st.

Unlike earlier hearings, Thursday’s proceedings did not take place behind closed doors, allowing some information about the police investigation to be released to the public.

The 22-year-old suspect was present at the hearing.

Police prosecutor Søren Harbo said that 254 witness statements had so far been gathered. Four additional witnesses, including a child, are still due to provide accounts to investigators.

During searches of the suspect’s home, a number of texts have been found which could indicate that the shooting was planned. These include tactical manuals related to carrying out shootings, news wire Ritzau reports.

The man had also bought ammunition and magazines prior to the attack. They were discovered on his person when he was arrested.

A pistol was meanwhile discovered in one of the toilets at Field’s’ cinema, where the shooting attack started according to the prosecution authority. Police tests found the pistol to be defective and not loaded.

Police have now pieced together a reconstruction of the events after four months of investigation of the mass shooting, an extremely rare occurrence in Denmark which resulted in national shock.

The prosecution will review a police video sequencing the events and witness material as part of its ongoing work with the case, Harbo said.

“It is very comprehensive because many places in Field’s have been investigated,” he said.

Defence lawyer Luise Høj said “the whole case will revolve around [the suspect’s] mental state at the moment the crime was committed”.

The suspect has, according to both prosecution and defence, recognised the factual circumstances of the attack.

He denies charges citing paragraph 16 of Denmark’s criminal law, which is related to a lack of culpability based on mental illness.

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