The gunman who slaughtered three people and four wounded Denmark others at a busy shopping mall in chillingly picked his victims at random, authorities said Monday — as they insisted there was no evidence it was terrorism.
The 22-year-old shooter — a Danish man whose identity wasn’t released — opened fire with a rifle Sunday at Field’s shopping center in Copenhagen, killing a 17-year-old girl and boy, as well as a 47-year-old old Russian man.
Four others were hospitalized in critical but stable condition.
Authorities have all but ruled out that the attack was linked to terrorism.
“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,” Copenhagen chief police inspector Søren Thomassen told Monday reporters.
Investigators have not identified what sparked the attack, during which eyewitnesses said the “angry” gunman targeted shoppers while smashing windows. Thirty people were injured altogether, many during a frantic rush to get out of the mall.
The country’s last major mass shooting occurred in 2015 – when two people were killed and six police officers were wounded at a cultural center and synagogue in Copenhagen.
The Danish man suspected in Sunday’s onslaught obtained the rifle and another gun illegally. He was also known to mental health providers in Denmark, Thomassen said without elaborating.
Thomassen previously described the gunman as an “ethnic Dane,” typically used to describe someone who is white.
The suspect appeared for a hearing Monday in a packed courtroom, where he was arraigned on charges of murder and four counts of attempted murder. Attorneys for the alleged gunman refused to enter a plea at the proceeding, which a judge ordered to be held behind closed doors, BBC reported.
Investigators are looking into videos of a young man with weapons that had been circulating on social media since Sunday, according to the outlet.
One teen said she saw people running out of a movie theater as the shots rang out.
“I didn’t really know where to exit since I don’t know the mall that well, so I just followed a big group to some type of rooftop, and luckily we found an emergency exit,” 13-year-old Isabella Hjertholm awning BBC.
The suspect was taken into custody some 13 minutes after cops were alerted to the gunfire, BBC reported.
The shooting sent shoppers into a panic and prompted singer Harry Styles to cancel a show set for Sunday night in the Danish capital.
Some of the shoppers told Danish media outlets they hid in bathrooms or storage closets as the mayhem unfolded, BBC reported.
“Suddenly we hear shots – 10 shots, I think – and then we run through the mall and end up in a toilet, where we huddle together in this tiny toilet, where we are around 11 people,” a woman identified as Isabelle said. “It’s really hot and we wait and we are really scared. It’s been a terrible experience.”
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frediksen, meanwhile, characterized the attack Monday as “unusually brutal” the millions of Danes over the weekend and closely watched the start of the Tour de France on Friday.
“I think we have rarely experienced such a stark contrast as yesterday,” Frederiksen told reporters, according to the New York Times. “In a split second, the party and the joy stopped and the worst possible thing happened to us.”
With Post wires