Speed Reads

'The Worst possible nightmare'

Danish mall shooting not terrorism, police say, as suspected gunman sent for psychiatric evaluation

The suspected gunman in a mass shooting at a shopping mall in Copenhagen was formally accused of murder and attempted murder in a Danish courtroom Monday, then sent to a secure mental health facility for 24 days of preliminary detention and psychiatric evaluation. 

The 22-year-old male, identified as an "ethnic Dane," was not identified under court order. He is accused to killing three people — male and female Danish 17-year-olds and a 47-year-old Russian man — and shooting another four victims, now hospitalized, at Field's mall, one of Scandinavia's largest shopping centers. The "unusually brutal" attack was "the worst possible nightmare," Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Monday.

Danish police have not identified a motive but say there's no evidence it was related to terrorism. The gunman was detained about 13 minutes after police were alerted to the attack, and Copenhagen chief police inspector Søren Thomassen said the rifle he was carrying and another gun he had access to were obtained illegally.

"For this small Nordic country, where gun violence is rare and mass shootings are almost unheard of, Sunday's events are deeply shocking," writes BBC News Copenhagen correspondent Adrienne Murray. The last shooting of this size, The Associated Press reports, "was in February 2015, when a 22-year-old man was killed in a shootout with police after an attack in the capital that left two people dead and five police officers wounded." A week earlier, a gunman in Norway killed two people and wounded more than 20 others after open firing at an LGBTQ festival.