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Denmark mall shooting likely not terror related, gunman acted alone: police

Click to play video: 'Denmark mall shooting: 3 people killed, suspect in custody following attack on crowded shopping centre' Denmark mall shooting: 3 people killed, suspect in custody following attack on crowded shopping centre
WATCH: Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Monday called the shooting at a crowded shopping mall in Copenhagen a “worst possible nightmare,” as the gunman is held in a closed psychiatric ward. Three people were killed in the attack and several others were wounded after the 22-year-old opened fire in the shopping centre, which is just a few kilometres from downtown Copenhagen – Jul 4, 2022

A gunman who killed three people when he opened fire in a crowded shopping mall acted alone and apparently selected his victims at random, Danish police said Monday, all but ruling out that the attack was an “act of terrorism.”

Police have not identified a motive for Sunday’s attack inside one of Scandinavia’s biggest shopping centers. A suspect carrying a rifle and knife was quickly arrested, and Copenhagen chief police inspector Sren Thomassen said the 22-year-old Danish man also had access to another gun.

Read more: Denmark shooting: Several killed at Copenhagen shopping mall, suspect arrested

He said the firearms were obtained illegally and that the suspect was known to mental health services but gave no further details on either.

Click to play video: 'Copenhagen mall shooting footage shows people running away from shots fired' Copenhagen mall shooting footage shows people running away from shots fired
Copenhagen mall shooting footage shows people running away from shots fired – Jul 3, 2022

“It was the worst possible nightmare,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Monday, calling the attack “unusually brutal.”

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The three killed were a 17-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, both Danes, and a 47-year-old Russian man, according to Thomassen. Four more people were hospitalized with gunshot wounds and were in critical but stable condition. In all 30 people were hurt, most in the panicked stampede after the shots rang out at the Field’s shopping center, on the outskirts of the Danish capital.

People evacuated from the Field’s shopping center run, in Orestad, Copenhagen, Denmark, Sunday, July 3, 2022, after reports of shots fired. Olafur Steinar Gestsson /Ritzau Scanpix via AP

The last shooting on this scale 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.

The suspect will be arraigned later Monday on preliminary charges of murder. That’s a step short of filing formal charges but allows authorities to keep a suspect in custody during an investigation.

Thomassen said police had no indication that anyone helped the gunman, and his motive remains unclear.

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“There is nothing in our investigation, or the documents we have reviewed, or the things we have found, or the witnesses’ statements we have gotten, that can substantiate that this is an act of terrorism,” said Thomassen, who previously identified the suspect as an “ethnic Dane,” a phrase typically used to mean someone is white.

Danish broadcaster TV2 published a grainy photo of the alleged gunman, a man wearing knee-length shorts, a vest or sleeveless shirt, and holding what appeared to be a rifle in his right hand.

“He seemed very violent and angry,” eyewitness Mahdi Al-Wazni told TV2. “He spoke to me and said it (the rifle) isn’t real as I was filming him. He seemed very proud of what he was doing.”

An ambulance and armed police outside the Field’s shopping center, in Orestad, Copenhagen, Denmark, Sunday, July 3, 2022, after reports of shots fired. Danish police say several people have been shot at a Copenhagen shopping mall. Olafur Steinar Gestsson /Ritzau Scanpix via AP

Images from the scene showed people running out of the mall, where people laid flowers on Monday.

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Chassandra Stoltz, an 18-year-old student who was on her way to a Harry Styles concert that was scheduled for Sunday night nearby, described a stampede as the shots rang out. At first, she and her sister and father thought it was because someone had spotted Styles _ but she soon realized the panic, including a man who grabbed his child from a stroller in the chaos.

“People were guiding us towards the exit sign, and we ran up the roof and we were stuck there for a while and then people were panicking all over the place and people were crying,” Stoltz said.

The Styles concert was canceled due to the shooting.

Sunday’s attack came about a week after a shooting in neighboring Norway, where police said a Norwegian man of Iranian origin opened fire during a LGBTQ festival, killing two and wounding more than 20.

— Ritter reported from Unterseen, Switzerland.

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