It was supposed to be a magical night and a farewell to living with coronavirus restrictions. But Sunday evening in Copenhagen became a true nightmare for Nuveen Kamal, 15, and her friend of her.
They were going to attend a concert by British pop star Harry Styles at the Royal Arena in the Danish capital, along with thousands of others. Many, just like Nuveen, had traveled a long way for the eagerly awaited event, and decided to get something to eat before the former One Direction star took to the stage.
They chose to visit the nearby shopping centre, Field’s – Denmark’s second-largest shopping mall – a few miles south of central Copenhagen.
As they stepped out of a shop, Nuveen and her friend heard screams coming from several directions. “At first, I thought it was Harry Styles who was in here. Then I turned around and I saw a man with a long rifle in his hand. And then we just ran,” says Nuveen.
Suddenly, a day that was meant to be memorable for joyous reasons had turned into one that was a matter of life and death. The mall was being attacked by a 22-year-old Danish man. In a deadly rampage, the man, whose name has still not been released, was to kill three people: two 17-year-olds and a 47-year-old man. Seven others suffered gunshot wounds, and four of them were seriously injured, including a 16-year-old girl. Another 20 people received various injuries while fleeing the scene.
The incident has shocked Denmark, which has largely escaped such incidents until now. The last major shooting incident was in 2015.
Sunday’s Harry Styles concert was the end of a festive week for Denmark. The country was hosting the first three stages of the Tour de France race, with hundreds of thousands of cheering Danes taking to the streets.
Danish gun laws are strict, and all firearms, with the exception of some hunting rifles, require a license issued by the police. The gunman did not have such a license.
Police have ruled that the incident was not an act of terror, and the gunman was ordered on Monday to be held in a closed psychiatric ward. Officers said the victims had been randomly targeted.
Nuveen is all too aware that she could have been among those killed or injured. She describes how she and her friend de ella frantically ran away from the noise of gunshots.
“We ran down some stairs in the back of a store, while we could hear shots, and then we reached a glass door, which is locked. We panic. We cannot run back again. It was a scary moment,” says Nuveen.
Copenhagen police received the first report of the shooting at 17.35 on Sunday evening.
Nine tells The Independent she does not remember much after her friend managed to break the locked door open and they were able to escape from the shopping center and into a large crowd of people anxiously waiting outside.
“I slept next to my mum last night. And I had a hard time falling asleep,” she says. “I’m still very much in shock and I don’t know how to deal with all of this. I am very confused right now.”