Danish police say three people were shot dead and three seriously injured after a gunman opened fire at a busy shopping center in Copenhagen on Sunday night.
A 22-year-old Dane was arrested after the shooting, Copenhagen Police Inspector Søren Thomassen said. The suspect has been charged with manslaughter and will face questioning before a judge on Monday.
Thomassen said the victims included a man in his 40s and two “young people”, without giving further details. Several other people were injured, three of them seriously, he said.
The suspect was apprehended at 5:48 p.m. local time while carrying a rifle and ammunition, investigators said. Police launched a massive search operation across local Zeeland early on Sunday evening in search of any accomplices.
“We are going to have a big investigation and a massive operational presence in Copenhagen until we can say for sure: he was alone,” Thomassen said.
Thomassen said it was too early to speculate on the motive for the shooting, which happened at Field’s, one of Scandinavia’s largest shopping malls and located on the outskirts of the Danish capital.
So far, the investigation has not indicated a racist or other motive, but that could change, the police chief said.
The capital’s main hospital, Rigshospitalet, has brought in additional staff, including surgeons and nurses, a spokesman said.
In a series of tweets earlier on Sunday, police said they sent officers to Field’s, after receiving reports of a shooting. Police were present in large numbers, they added, advising people inside the center to stay put and wait for help.
Footage on social media that could not immediately be verified showed police entering a building and dressing in protective gear.
Danish broadcaster TV2 released a grainy photo of the alleged shooter, a man wearing knee-length shorts, a vest or sleeveless shirt and holding what appeared to be a gun in his right hand.
Other footage posted online showed people walking through and out of the mall and TV2 also posted a picture of a man being put on a stretcher. Witnesses said people were crying and hiding in stores. Several fire engines were parked outside the mall.
Police called on anyone who saw, heard or filmed anything to contact them.
“Denmark was hit by a cruel attack on Sunday evening. Several were killed. Even more hurt. Innocent families shop or eat out. Children, teenagers and adults,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in a statement on Sunday evening.
“Our beautiful and usually so safe capital was changed in a split second,” she said. “I want to encourage Danes to stick together and support each other in this difficult time.”
Copenhagen Mayor Sophie H Andersen tweeted: “Terrible reports of shooting in Fields. We don’t yet know for sure how many injured or dead, but it’s very serious.
Laurits Hermansen told Danish broadcaster DR he was in a clothing store in the mall with his family when he heard “three or four bangs. Really strong bangs. It looked like the shots were fired right next to the store.
Other witnesses quoted by Danish media said they saw more than 100 people rushing out of the mall as soon as the first shots were heard.
“We could see many people suddenly running towards the exit, then we heard a bang. Then we also ran out of Field’s,” Thea Schmidt, who was in the mall at the time of the attack, told TV2.
The Field Mall has 135 shops, cafes and restaurants.
The mall is right across from a metro line that connects the city center to the international airport. A major highway also passes by Field’s.
A concert by British singer Harry Styles, which was due to take place at the Royal Arena less than a mile from the mall, was canceled on Sunday evening despite earlier reports that it would go ahead.
On Snapchat, Styles wrote, “My team and I are praying for everyone involved in the Copenhagen mall shooting. I’m shocked. I love H.”
Shortly after the shooting, the royal palace said a reception with Crown Prince Frederik linked to the Tour de France cycling race had been cancelled. The first three stages of the race were held in Denmark this year, the palace said in a statement.
The reception was to take place on the royal yacht moored in Sønderborg, the town where the third leg ended.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report