Copenhagen shooting suspect admitted to psychiatric hospital

The main suspect in the Copenhagen shopping center shooting has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital a day after three people, including two teenagers, were shot to death.

“The court is placing a 22-year-old in a closed psychiatric hospital,” the Copenhagen police said in a statement after a two-hour hearing on the suspect.

The suspect in the late Sunday night attack will be held for at least 24 days, which could then be extended, according to police.

The young man appeared before a judge at noon at the Copenhagen District Court on Monday.

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

According to public broadcaster DR, citing several unnamed sources, shortly before the attack, the suspected shooter tried to call a psychological help line, but the authorities did not confirm this.

Copenhagen police chief Søren Thomassen had already told a morning press conference that “the suspect is also known among the psychiatric services” but declined to comment further.

The attack came just after the Tour de France cycling competition kicked off in the city and the Roskilde music festival returned after being canceled due to Covid-19 restrictions.

‘Sharp Contrast’

“I think we have rarely seen such a stark contrast as yesterday,” said Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, who arrived to pay tribute to the victims at the scene.

“But today I think that we should pay tribute to the victims, express our sympathy, our help and support, and support all those who suffered,” she told reporters.

Copenhagen Mayor Sophie H. Andersen announced on Monday that a memorial service was being prepared.

The three killed were identified as two Danish teenagers, a girl and a boy aged 17, and a 47-year-old Russian living in Denmark.

Speaking at an afternoon press conference, Copenhagen Police Inspector Danny Rise said a total of 10 people had been shot, including three killed and four seriously injured.

Rise also said police have received a large amount of testimony and video from the public and are in the process of “putting the puzzle together” to establish a motive.

Given the varying ages and genders of the victims, Thomassen said they appeared to have been randomly selected and there is nothing to indicate that this was a terrorist attack.

The chief of police said that it appeared that preparations had been made before the attack, and that no one else helped him.

No license

About 20 others were slightly injured in a panicked evacuation following the shooting.

Thomassen added that they believe the videos of the suspect, which have been circulating on social media since late Sunday, are genuine.

In some of the images, the young man can be seen posing with weapons, mimicking suicide gestures, and talking about psychiatric drugs “that don’t work.”

Three videos allegedly posted by the suspect on YouTube were captioned “I don’t care”.

YouTube and Instagram accounts believed to belong to him were shut down overnight, AFP notes.

The shooting took place Sunday afternoon at Field’s, a busy shopping mall located between the city center and Copenhagen Airport.

According to police, the shooter was armed with a rifle, pistol and knife, and while the weapons were not considered illegal, the suspect did not have a license to use them.

“Are you okay?”

Eyewitnesses told Danish media that they saw more than 100 people rushing out of the mall when the first shots were fired.

The mall was packed due to a scheduled concert with British singer Harry Styles at the nearby Royal Arena which sold 13,500 tickets but was canceled at the last minute.

“We got dressed for the concert and were on our way,” Maria Enevoldsen, who returned to the mall on Monday to collect her car, told AFP.

“Our friend (at the mall) called and asked, “Are you okay?” and then we heard shots on the phone,” she said.

The shooting comes just over a week after a gunman opened fire outside a gay bar in Oslo in neighboring Norway, killing two people and injuring 21 others, although Norwegian police said on Monday they saw no connection between the events.

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