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Denmark after the shooting: More staff in psychiatry required

After the killing spree in Copenhagen with three dead, experts discuss how to deal with mentally ill people in Denmark. The 22-year-old suspect, who was arrested shortly after the crime, was “known in psychiatry,” according to the police. He will spend his pre-trial detention in a closed psychiatric ward.

“You can make all sorts of assumptions: Was the perpetrator mentally ill? Was he in psychiatry? Did he ask for help but was not understood?” said psychiatric professor Poul Videbech from the University of Copenhagen on Danish television on Tuesday. In order to prevent such an act from being repeated, a thorough investigation must be carried out into what preceded it: “Out of consideration for the victims, the bereaved – and in this way for all of us – we have to learn the maximum from such a terrible story.” said Videbech.


More employees in psychiatry needed


According to the chair of the Danish Psychiatric Society, Psychiatry Professor Merete Nordentoft, around a third more employees would be needed in psychiatry to provide appropriate care for the mentally ill. “I agree with those who are out there thinking that the system is under such pressure that things like this can happen.”

Man wanted to contact the crisis hotline before the act


According to research by the broadcaster DR, the alleged gunman tried to reach a crisis hotline before the crime. During the pre-trial detention, the suspect’s mental state will be examined. However, details of his history are not yet known. The motive for the crime is still unclear. But terror shouldn’t be behind it.

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The 22-year-old Dane is said to have shot and killed three people in the Field’s shopping center in Copenhagen on Sunday and seriously injured four. All four are now out of danger, as a spokesman for the capital region confirmed. According to the police, three other people were treated for injuries caused by possible grazing shots. The fatalities were two Danish 17-year-olds – a boy and a girl – and a 47-year-old Russian residing in Denmark.


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One of the teenagers had worked at the cinema attached to the mall. “It is with great sadness that we have to confirm that one of our young cinema employees lost his life in Sunday’s terrible and incomprehensible tragedy,” said operator Nordisk Film Biografer on Tuesday on Facebook. “We are deeply touched and our thoughts and condolences are with the family.”


Cinemas closed in mourning


The colleagues of the deceased teenager would receive psychological help, the Facebook post said. All of the operator’s cinemas in the country were closed on Tuesday – “out of respect for the victims and to discuss the situation with our employees”. The entire shopping center where the attack took place will remain closed at least until next Monday.

Memorial to victims Tuesday evening


On Tuesday evening, numerous people want to gather on the street in front of the crime scene, which is to remain cordoned off until midnight, to commemorate the victims of the killing spree. Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Copenhagen’s Mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen want to give speeches there. A choir will also sing. “Come and show your support,” Copenhagen Municipality wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

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