Five people killed with bows and arrows: “A tragedy that leaves deep marks!”
Kongsberg (Norway) – Screams, people fleeing and lifeless bodies on the ground – the Scenes that took place in the inner city of the Norwegian city of Kongsberg on Wednesday evening, shake the image of tranquil Norway, which is not only prevalent abroad, but also at home.
“It is unreal that we have to experience something like this,” says Mayor Kari Anne Sand (62) in an interview with Norwegian radio. “A tragedy that leaves deep marks.” The flags are flying at half-mast, and in many places people have placed flowers and candles.
Again a single perpetrator has terrified the people in Norway. A 37-year-old Dane who lives in Kongsberg is accused of killing five people and injuring two.
According to police, he was walking around the city center with a bow and arrow and other weapons. In a supermarket, the shooter met a policeman who was not on duty. He survived the attack. Four women and one man not.
The police security service rated the act as an act of terrorism. But his specific motive is unclear.
A woman saw the alleged perpetrator from her terrace: with a bow in her hand and arrows in her quiver. Other eyewitnesses report this TV channel TV2 of lifeless people and screams in the street. Neighbors see a man with an arrow in his back who runs into the market square and calls out to others to get to safety.
The alleged perpetrator is arrested around half an hour after the first emergency call. The police are pretty sure he acted alone.
Memories of the Utøya massacre
These scenes involuntarily bring back memories of the Utøya massacre. This summer it was ten years since the terrorist Anders Behring Breivik (42) set off a bomb in the government district of Oslo and then literally executed young people on the island of Utøya. 77 people lost their lives.
In 2019 he found an imitator. A young Norwegian stormed a mosque in Bærum near Oslo. His goal was to kill as many Muslims as possible, but he was overwhelmed. It was later revealed that he had previously killed his half-sister.
Both perpetrators were politically motivated. In this latest case, too, the security service PST says: “The incidents in Kongsberg currently appear to be a terrorist act”. The alleged perpetrator had been reported to the police several times because he had converted to Islam and had been radicalized.
The Dane has already been convicted twice: for theft, drug abuse and for threatening family members to kill them. Investigators now have to find out what caused him to kill so many people on Wednesday.
Victims were likely killed after police first met the perpetrator
Special attention is paid to their work. Because in the attacks of July 22, 2011, the police failed miserably. The operations center was manned by only one person; there was a lack of helicopters, boats and leadership skills. Much has happened since then, the police have been reformed from the ground up and now seem to be better prepared for situations like this.
The first patrol was on site just five minutes after the first alarm. It was followed by the standby force, helicopters and the bomb squad. Hospitals were alerted, the municipality and the Ministry of Justice set up crisis teams.
It all seems to have worked fine. But it is not certain that everything went according to plan during the police operation.
Police chief Ole Bredrup Sæverud had to admit on Thursday that it is likely that the victims were killed after police first met the alleged perpetrator.
The officers had been shot at with arrows by him and fired warning shots themselves. However, the man escaped and was arrested about half an hour later. Whether the officers who arrived first could have prevented the deaths will certainly be discussed in the next few days.
Title photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB / dpa