The police received a call around 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday evening. A man armed with a bow and arrow had started firing seemingly randomly in the center of Kongsberg, a town of 26,000 inhabitants 66 kilometers from the Norwegian capital Oslo.
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“I heard a lot of noise outside, saw a woman take cover and then I saw a man standing with a bow in his hand and arrows in a carrying case slung over his shoulder,” a woman said. TV2. “I have seen people running for their lives. One of them was a woman who was carrying her child.” Another witness talks about an “irreal and terrible incident”. She was jogging when she suddenly saw a lot of police. There she heard that someone with a bow and arrow was shooting people. “Very nasty. I immediately ran home and locked the door. That’s how scared I was.”
The incident is said to have started in or near the Coop store chain, after which the suspect moved through the center of the city. According to the police, he also used weapons other than bow and arrow in the attack, but it is unclear which ones.
How many victims are there?
The suspect hit seven people. Five of them did not survive the facts. It concerns four women and a man, all between 50 and 70 years old. Two were also seriously injured. One of them was a police officer, it turns out, though he wasn’t on the job at the time, so wasn’t wearing his uniform. They are fighting for their lives in the intensive care unit in the hospital.
The police arrived on the scene with an impressive display of force. Helicopters, dogs and armed troops were deployed and the suspect was arrested after a 34-minute manhunt. The man tried to flee and also fired arrows at the officers, but was quickly overpowered. He appeared to act alone.
After the incident, officers across the country were told to carry their weapons visibly as a precaution, which is not required in Norway, before other attacks come. They didn’t come in the end.
Who is the guy?
It concerns a 37-year-old Dane who has been living in Kongsberg for several years. What drove him to those actions is not yet clear. According to the police, he had recently converted to Islam and there are many indications that he was radicalized. There is a suspicion that it is an act of terrorism. There is no confirmation of this yet. The police have already said that the man is no stranger to them, and that he has also been in regular contact with the health services in the country in recent years.
The man was interrogated for the first time by the police and, according to his lawyer, he cooperated constructively. He gives detailed explanations about what happened NRK. Police chief Ole Saeverud said at a press conference that the man has explained why he did it and admitted that he committed the offences.
According to his lawyer, the man in his thirties is “affected” by the situation and new interrogations are already planned. It is not yet clear when these will take place.
How is the response?
Kongsberg mayor Kari Anne Sand calls it “a tragedy”. “I have no words for this.” Acting Prime Minister Erna Solberg called the attack “horrific”. “The information we are getting from Kongsberg is appalling.” Jonas Gahr Stoere, the man who will become prime minister on Thursday, talks about a “horrific and brutal act”.
“I am shocked and saddened by what has happened in Norway,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote on Twitter. “My thoughts are with the bereaved families and with all residents of Norway.”