Guernsey women run for lives from Danish shooter

TWO Guernsey women were left shaken after finding themselves in a Danish shopping centre, as a shooter killed three people.

Armed police help people leave Copenhagen’s Field’s shopping mall after a gunman killed three people and wounded several others. Among those in the area at the time were Guernsey women Nicole Guilmoto and Heather Dowinton. (Photo by Olafur Steinar Gestsson//Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)
Armed police help people leave Copenhagen’s Field’s shopping mall after a gunman killed three people and wounded several others. Among those in the area at the time were Guernsey women Nicole Guilmoto and Heather Dowinton. (Photo by Olafur Steinar Gestsson//Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

Nicole Guilmoto, 25, and Heather Dowinton, 21, were visiting Copenhagen for a city break and to see Harry Styles live in concert, but got caught up in the gun attack on Sunday.

The pair, who have now arrived back in Guernsey, shared their experience of the attack.

‘We are both still very shaken up and upset about what happened, but it is starting to set in and we are realising how traumatic that day was for us and everyone who was in the shopping centre,’ they said.

On Sunday afternoon the friends were eating in a restaurant on the third floor of the Field’s mall food court, when they saw a group of young girls running past the door, who they assumed were Harry Styles fans.

Within 10 seconds, a group of about 200 people sprinted past the restaurant, then staff joined them in fleeing the area, leading the Guernsey women to grab their belongings and run.

‘We heard some bangs in the distance, but initially thought nothing of it as it was a loud environment anyway,’ they said.

‘When we got to an open roof space, people were climbing onto the side of the roof and forcing open windows and fire escapes.

‘A security guard came out and rushed us down the fire escape and we eventually found out at the bottom that it was a confirmed shooting.’

Miss Guilmoto and Miss Dowinton said that once they were out of the building they ran across the street where they were surrounded by people sat on the floor and crying.

At this point they described a second surge of sprinting, which they believe was when the shooter exited the building.

‘We kept running for 10 minutes towards a residential area where a woman named Aisha gave us shelter, water and was translating the news for us so we could figure out what to do next,’ they said.

‘We are so grateful to this woman and how she provided us a safe space until we were comfortable to go outside.’

The Harry Styles concert was due to take place less than a mile away from the mall at the Royal Arena, and Miss Guilmoto and Miss Dowinton made their way there to be in the safety of armed guards and helicopters.

‘On our way to the arena we went past the entrance to Field’s and saw hundreds of people outside waiting for their loved ones who were trapped in the building to be escorted out by the police,’ they said.

‘People would run out of there in groups of 15 or so and run straight up to their parents, siblings and friends.

‘We’ve never seen more emotion in one area.’

The concert was cancelled, and fans were escorted by armed police in the opposite direction to where most were staying at hotels.

Miss Guilmoto and Miss Dowinton walked halfway to their hotel and were driven the rest of the way by a Danish woman and her daughter.

They travelled back to Guernsey yesterday, after tickets home on Monday were sold out.

After calling family and friends on Monday, they visited Malmo in Sweden.

‘I wouldn’t say we enjoyed it, more we kept ourselves busy and were looking forward to getting back home so we can see our families,’ said Miss Guilmoto.

Harry Styles expressed his condolences for those affected by the shooting, and apologised for having to cancel his show.

Three people – two 17-year-olds and a 47-year-old - were killed in the attack and seven received gunshot wounds.

The 22-year-old shooter, who had mental health issues, has been remanded into custody for 24 days and will undergo a psychiatric evaluation according to Reuters.

At this stage there is no indication that the shooting was terrorist-related.

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