A bloody Sunday that never should have been

It was a hot and lazy summer’s day when tragedy unfolded at Field’s shopping mall last July. A 22-year-old man shot and killed three innocent people and wounded six. The trial against the mentally-ill man starts today. The question is not whether he committed the crime – but what kind of sentence he’ll get

Having to live with the fact that your son has killed and injured innocent people is a heavy burden. Nevertheless, the accused man’s mother has chosen to come forward. Not with her name or face, but in a long interview with TV2.

She wants to shed light on the tragedy in Field’s and why her son committed the kind of horrific assault almost never seen in a country like Denmark.

“Since last summer, my son has been subject to massive psychiatric treatment, and that treatment has therefore been aimed at the diagnosis that was disregarded at the time before the shooting,” the defendant’s mother said in the interview.

In doing so, she points to the many different therapists he saw and – according to her – erroneous assessments in the psychiatric system.

When the mother looks back on the process, she is convinced that the chief doctor at Psychiatric Center Amager made a mistake by disregarding a previous schizophrenia investigation.

Points for improvement
Psychiatry plays a central role in the case of Field’s. The 23-year-old man is mentally ill. Very ill. Insane. Before the attack in Field’s, he was thrown around by a psychiatric system, which has subsequently been busy evaluating itself.

Based on the case, an investigation carried out by a special group in Region Hovedstaden (the responsible authorities for psychiatry) has identified several points with “potential for improvement”.

However, based on its investigation, Region Hovedstaden could not determine that the shooting attack would have been avoided if the system had not had many shortcomings.

In Denmark, individuals who at the time of the crime were insane due to insanity are not punished. But if they are found guilty, they can be sentenced to legal consequences other than punishment.

Can’t remember what happened
The prosecution requires the 23-year-old man to be placed indefinitely in a special secure ward in Slagelse called ‘Sikringen’. It is a specially secured forensic psychiatric ward that houses some of the most dangerous criminals.

“The defendant has difficulty remembering what happened on July 3 last year,” said the defence attorney, Luise Høj.

That is why he will not give a statement in court.

“We do not dispute that he was at Field’s, brought firearms, fired shots, that several were injured and that three died. But I cannot confirm his guilt because I believe that he is exempt from punishment due to illness,” she said.

A verdict is expected on July 5.