Norway: bow and arrow attack treated as terrorism, police say

The investigation “will further clarify the reasons why the incidents were motivated,” the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) said in a statement on Thursday.

A 37-year-old Danish citizen who lived in Norway has been arrested and charged for the attack in the town of Kongsberg, but police have yet to disclose the charges he faces.

“The police have already been in contact with the man, not least because of previous concerns about radicalization,” Police Chief Ole Bredrup Sæverud said on Thursday.

The suspect had not appeared on their radar this year, however, Sæverud said, saying police had “not received any reports in 2021 regarding radicalization.”

Four women and a man were killed in the attack. “We have information on the five people who died. There are four women and one man, no one has yet been formally identified. It will take some time. They are all between 50 and 70 years old,” Sæverud said.

A timeline of events on Wednesday revealed that only 35 minutes elapsed between the first reports to police of a man shooting with a bow and arrows and the arrest of the suspect.

The first call alerting police arrived at the operations center at 6:12 p.m., Sæverud said. A patrol was immediately dispatched to the scene, followed by three more, he said. The first patrol on the scene only briefly spotted the assailant.

Within minutes, messages arrived from members of the public that the suspect had been spotted in several locations in Kongsberg, he said.

The suspect was arrested at 6:47 p.m., by which time 22 police patrols had been deployed and other assets were en route. Warning shots were fired at the time of the arrest, Sæverud said.

From what police now know, “it seems pretty clear that probably everyone was killed after police first came into contact with the assailant,” he said.

The assailant allegedly acted alone, police said.

A witness to the attack, Linda Ostergaard, was cycling home with her two daughters when she arrived on the attack, according to CNN’s Swedish affiliate Expressen.

“My youngest daughter was a few meters in front of me when she suddenly stopped because there were a lot of blue lights,” Ostergaard said.

“We saw a police car with sirens running, and it pulled up up the street. Two policemen jumped out of the car with guns and ran into the store here, and they shouted, ‘Armed policemen, drop the gun’. ‘”

“Then we were told to move away, that we had to go to safety. So we ran around the corner and stood there on the corner. There we met another man who said he was the one who called the police, and the assailant shot after him down here, and then we saw there was an arrow there- down the road. There was no crossbow, only a long arrow lying there.

Police cordoned off the Kongsberg scene on October 13.

“The perpetrator has committed horrible acts”

The attack came on the eve of a new government taking office after last month’s parliamentary elections toppled the long-ruling Conservative Party.

Labor leader Jonas Gahr Store is due to assume the role of Prime Minister on Thursday. In a Facebook post, Store described the attack as a “cruel and brutal act”.

Speaking at a late-night press conference in the capital, Oslo, the country’s outgoing Prime Minister Erna Solberg called the developments in Kongsberg “horrific” and pledged “all necessary resources” were deployed.

“The author has committed horrific acts against several people. It is a very tragic situation which has hit Kongsberg society hard, and the events are shaking us all,” she said.

An arrow is left in a wall at the scene where a man with a bow killed several people in Kongsberg.

Norwegian King Harald expressed his condolences in a short message to the mayor of Kongsberg on Thursday, saying “the rest of the nation is with you.”

“We sympathize with the loved ones and the injured in grief and despair,” he said. “And we think of all those affected in Kongsberg who have gone through that their safe local environment has suddenly become a dangerous place. It shakes us all when horrible things happen near us, when we least expect it, at the middle of everyday life in the open street. “

The attack comes just over a decade after Norway’s worst terrorist attack.

In July 2011, a Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Behring Brevik killed 77 people, many of them teenagers, in a bombing and gun rampage. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum possible sentence.

In August 2019, another man stormed an Oslo mosque armed with guns before being overpowered. That year, the country’s intelligence service reported that right-wing terrorism was on the rise around the world and warned that the country would likely be targeted in the near future.

CNN’s Vasco Cotovio, Seb Shukla and Lianne Kolirin contributed to this report.

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