Five people were killed in the small Norwegian town of Kongsberg – apparently by a man who shot a bow and arrow in the city center. A few questions remain unanswered a day later. An overview.
Five people are dead and at least two others are injured. This is the result of a gruesome attack that rocked Norway and the world on Wednesday evening. The alleged perpetrator was with a bow and arrow in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg, about 80 kilometers southwest of the capital Oslo, and killed in different locations in the city center. The incident brings back bad memories in the country where right-wing terrorist Anders Breivik killed a total of 77 people a good ten years ago. In the current case, too, the investigators are now assuming an act of terrorism.
According to the police, the suspect showed himself to be ready to talk on Thursday night. Nevertheless, much is not yet known. An overview:
►Who is the alleged perpetrator?
About half an hour after the first emergency call, a 37-year-old Dane who lives in Norway was arrested and taken to a police station in the neighboring town of Drammen. The police still assume that he acted alone.
According to the police, there are indications that the alleged perpetrator has converted to Islam. He was known to the police: the police had already been in contact with him because of a possible radicalization, said police chief Ole Bredrup Sæverud at a press conference in Tønsberg on Thursday morning.
In 2020, he was said to have been banned from visiting after he made death threats against his family, according to Norwegian broadcaster TV2. Local media unanimously reported that the suspect was born in Norway, had a Norwegian father and a Danish mother. The suspect is said to have been convicted of theft and drug use nine years ago, according to TV2.
In addition, it had previously been reported that the alleged perpetrator had already been in contact with the Norwegian health service on several occasions. The responsible public prosecutor confirmed this. It was not clear from the statements whether the man was being treated for mental health problems.
►What is known about the course of events?
The police had been reported by several people at 6.13 p.m. that an armed man was moving through the city and shooting people with a bow and arrow. He was spotted by a police patrol just five minutes later. However, the officers were shot at with arrows and the man was able to flee. 22 patrols are said to have been in action on Wednesday evening, according to the Norwegian broadcaster TV2.
Police chief Ole Bredrup Sæverud at a press conference on Thursday: The victims were probably killed after the police had already been in contact with the perpetrator. (Source: Terje Pedersen / Reuters)
Police spokesman Sæverud said Thursday that it was likely that the victims were only killed after this contact with the police. According to official information, the alleged perpetrator was arrested around half an hour after the first emergency call. At 6.47 p.m. it was reported for the first time that the alleged perpetrator had been arrested. During the arrest, warning shots were fired, said the police chief.
The attacks occurred in several locations in downtown Kongsberg. The perpetrator moved over a larger area, the investigators said. The first attack is said to have occurred at the Coop Extra supermarket on the West Side, a district in Kongsberg. The defendant escaped from the shop, but did not use the main entrance, the police said.
The police also confirmed that the alleged perpetrator allegedly used other weapons in addition to a bow and arrow. So far there have been no details. Local media had previously reported unanimously that the alleged perpetrator was also armed with a knife.
►Who are the victims?
Four women and one man were killed in the attack. All five are between 50 and 70 years old, according to the police. The newspaper “Aftenposten” reports that none of those killed has so far been officially identified.
At least two other people were injured. Including a police officer, who is said to have been shopping privately in a supermarket instead of on duty.
What’s the motive?
The suspect confessed to the crime according to the responsible public prosecutor. During the night, the alleged perpetrator was willing to talk and cooperative, the police chief said. However, he could not give any details about this, he is quoted on TV2 as a quotation. The motive of the perpetrator is therefore still unknown.
The police now assume a terrorist background. “The incidents in Kongsberg currently appear to be a terrorist act,” said a statement from the Norwegian police security service on Thursday. Investigations into the exact background are still ongoing, it said. “The threat situation in Norway is still rated as moderate.”
According to media reports, the police searched the suspect’s apartment on Wednesday evening. It is hoped that this will provide further insights.
How did Norway react to the crime?
The incident occurred on the eve of the new Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre’s inauguration. The Social Democrat was shocked. “What we heard from Kongsberg tonight shows that a cruel and brutal act has been committed,” he told NTB late in the evening.
The outgoing Prime Minister Erna Solberg also expressed her condolences. “Our thoughts go first of all to those affected and their relatives,” she said late on Wednesday evening at a press conference in Oslo that was called at short notice.
The head of government in neighboring Sweden, Stefan Löfven, wrote on Twitter that his thoughts were with the victims and their families. It was a “terrible attack”.