Three people were killed and several more were woundedin a shooting at a shopping centre in Copenhagen on Sunday, Danish police said, adding they had arrested a 22-year-old Danish man and charged him with manslaughter.
The attack rocked Denmark at the end of an otherwise joyful week, just after it hosted the first three stages of the Tour de France cycle race. The event had sent hundreds of thousands of cheering Danes into the streets across the country.
"Denmark was hit by a cruel attack on Sunday night. Several were killed. Even more wounded. Innocent families shopping or eating out. Children, adolescents and adults," Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in a statement late on Sunday.
"Our beautiful and usually so safe capital was changed in a split second," she said. "I want to encourage the Danes to stand together and support each other in this difficult time."
Copenhagen police said armed officers were sent to Field's mall in the capital late on Sunday afternoon after reports of a shooting, and had told people inside to stay put and await assistance. Local media footage showed groups of terrified shoppers running from the mall.
The suspect was apprehended at 5:48 pm local time (1548 GMT), carrying a rifle and ammunition. Police launched a massive search operation throughout the local Zealand region early Sunday evening in search of any accomplices.
"We are going to have a large investigation and a massive operational presence in Copenhagen until we can say with certainty: He was alone," Thomassen said.
The shooter had killed a man in his forties and two "young people", Thomassen said. Several more were wounded, and among those were three in critical condition.
The investigation so far did not point towards a racist motive or otherwise, but this could change, he said.
Copenhagen police will hold a press briefing Monday morning at 8:00 am local time.
The capital's main hospital, Rigshospitalet, had received a "small group of patients" for treatment, a spokesperson said early Sunday evening, and had called in extra doctors and nurses.
Danish tabloid BT published unverified video footage it said was shot by a witness to the attack, Mahdi Al-wazni, showing a man with a large rifle walking through the mall and swinging it around his shoulders.
"He seemed very aggressive and shouted different things," Al-wazni told BT.
"People first thought it was a thief ... Then I suddenly hear shots and threw myself behind the counter inside the store," an eyewitness, Rikke Levandovski, told broadcaster TV2.
"He is just shooting into the crowd, not up in the ceiling or into the floor," she added.
The multi-storey shopping mall is located around 5 km south of downtown Copenhagen.