What we know about the Copenhagen mall shooting

Lone gunman had mental health issues and not thought to have terror motive, police say

Shoppers react after shooting spree
Shoppers react after the shooting spree
(Image credit: Olafur Steiner Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

A deadly shooting at a shopping mall in the Danish capital Copenhagen is not being treated as a terrorist incident.

Three people were killed and several others wounded when a gunman began firing at shoppers on Sunday afternoon.

Police chief Søren Thomassen said a 22-year-old man was arrested soon after the shooting at the Field’s shopping centre on the southern outskirts of the city.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Described as “ethnically Danish” by the The Local, Thomassen said the as yet unnamed suspect “was known to people in the psychiatric field” and there was no indication the attack was an “act of terror” or motivated by gender, adding that police believe the victims were chosen at random with the gunman acting alone.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the country had been hit by a “cruel attack”.

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

Reuters reported the attack had “rocked Denmark at the end of an otherwise joyful week”. Hundreds of thousands of people had lined the streets of the capital as it hosted the first stages of the Tour de France cycle race.

A concert by the singer Harry Styles scheduled for Sunday evening at a stadium less than a mile from where the shooting took place was cancelled at the last minute, with fans, many of them teenagers, already inside the venue escorted by police to nearby underground stations, Danish media reported.

See more

The attack follows a deadly shooting in neighbouring Norway less than a week ago, in which two people were killed by a lone shooter in the capital Oslo.

Like other Scandinavian countries Denmark “has some of the strictest gun laws in Europe,” said the BBC, “with licences to own firearms usually only available for hunting or sport shooting following background checks – and with an almost total ban on automatic weapons.”

Carrying a firearm in public is strictly prohibited and as a result “gun violence is relatively rare in Denmark”, said CNN.

The country’s last major terrorist incident was back in 2015. Two people were killed and six police officers wounded after a lone gunman opened fire at a cultural centre hosting a debate on freedom of speech with controversial cartoonist Lars Vilks, and later killed a person outside a Jewish synagogue in central Copenhagen.

According to the latest report from the Danish Security and Intelligence Service reported by Reuters, the terrorist threat against Denmark is currently assessed to be “serious”, with the biggest threat coming from “militant Islamism”. The threat to Denmark from right-wing extremists is considered at a “general” level, “which means there is capability and/or intent and possibly planning” said the news agency.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.