Several people have been killed in a shooting incident at a shopping centre in Denmark's capital, Danish police said.

"We now know that there are several dead," Copenhagen police chief Soren Thomassen said at a press conference, adding that there were also several wounded.

Police said they had arrested a 22-year-old Danish man and that they could not rule out it was an "act of terrorism".

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Copenhagen police said officers had been sent to Field's shopping centre in the city after reports of a shooting, and had told people inside the centre to stay put and await assistance.

Images from the scene showed women carrying their children and ambulance personnel carrying people away on stretchers.

The capital's main hospital, Rigshospitalet, had received a "small group of patients" for treatment, a spokesman said. It had called in extra staff, including surgeons and nurses, the spokesman added.

People run from the shopping centre
People run from the Field's shopping centre during the attack

Eyewitnesses quoted by Danish media said they saw more than 100 people rush towards the shopping centre's exit as the first shots were heard.

"We could see that many people suddenly ran towards the exit and then we heard a bang. Then we ran out of Field's too," Thea Schmidt, who was in the centre at time of the attack told broadcaster TV2.

People are evacuated from the Field's shopping centre in Copenhagen
People are evacuated from the shopping centre in Copenhagen

At around 7.30pm, roads around the shopping centre were blocked, the subway was stopped and a helicopter was flying above.

Heavily armed police officers prevented onlookers from approaching and locals from returning to their homes.

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he was "shocked and saddened by the events in Copenhagen".

In a post on Twitter he said: "My deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those killed and injured. Thoughts are with the people of Denmark."

The Irish Embassy in Denmark issued a helpline number for Irish citizens in Copenhagen.

An event in southern Denmark to commemorate the end of the first three stages of the Tour de France cycling race, hosted by the Danish Crown Prince and with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in attendance, had been cancelled late today, the Royal House said on its website.

At the nearby Royal Arena, a concert with British singer Harry Styles had been scheduled for tonight.

Shortly after the shooting the organiser announced it would "proceed as planned," but later announced its cancellation following criticism.

"My team and I pray for everyone involved in the Copenhagen shopping mall shooting. I am shocked," Mr Styles said in a Snapchat post.

The shooting comes just over a week after a gunman opened fire near a gay bar in Oslo in neighbouring Norway, killing two people and wounding 21 others.

In February 2015, two people were killed and five injured in Copenhagen in a series of Islamist-motivated shootings.