By PAAL NORDSETH, JAN M. OLSEN and MARK LEWIS
KONGSBERG, Norway (AP) — The bow-and-arrow rampage by a person who killed 5 folks in a small city close to Norway’s capital seemed to be a terrorist act, authorities stated Thursday, a weird and stunning assault in a Scandinavian nation the place violent crime is uncommon.
Police recognized the attacker as Espen Andersen Braathen, a 37-year-old Danish citizen, who was arrested on the road Wednesday night time. They stated he used the bow and arrow and probably different weapons to randomly goal folks at a grocery store and different places in Kongsberg, a city of about 26,000 the place he lived.
Witnesses stated their quiet neighborhood of wood homes and birch timber was become a scene of terrifying cries and turmoil.
“The screaming was so intense and horrifying there was by no means any doubt one thing very critical was occurring,” stated Kurt Einar Voldseth, who had returned house from an errand when he heard the commotion. “I can solely describe it as a ‘loss of life scream,’ and it burned into my thoughts.”
4 ladies and one man between the ages of fifty and 70 had been killed, and three different folks had been wounded, police stated.
Andersen Braathen is being held on preliminary prices and can face a custody listening to Friday. Police stated they imagine he acted alone.
“The entire act seems to be an act of terror,” stated Hans Sverre Sjoevold, head of Norway’s home intelligence service, referred to as the PST.
”We have no idea what the motivation of the perpetrator is,” Sjoevold stated in English. “We’ve got to attend for the end result of the investigation.”
He stated the suspect was recognized to the PST, however he declined to elaborate. The company stated the phobia risk degree for Norway remained unchanged at “average.”
Regional Police Chief Ole B. Saeverud described the person as a Muslim convert and stated there “earlier had been worries of the person having been radicalized,” however he didn’t elaborate or say why he was beforehand flagged or authorities did in response.
Police had been alerted to a person capturing arrows about 6:15 p.m. and arrested him about half-hour later. Regional prosecutor Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen, informed The Related Press that after the person’s arrest, he “clearly described what he had carried out. He admitted killing the 5 folks.”
She stated the bow and arrows had been simply a part of the attacker’s arsenal. Police haven’t stated what different weapons had been used.
Norwegian media reported the suspect beforehand had been convicted of housebreaking and drug possession, and final yr a court docket granted a restraining order for him to steer clear of his mother and father for six months after he threatened to kill one among them.
Svane Mathiassen informed Norwegian broadcaster NRK the suspect will likely be examined by forensic psychiatric consultants, which is “common in such critical circumstances.”
Mass killings are uncommon in low-crime Norway, and the assault instantly drew comparisons with the nation’s worst peacetime slaughter a decade in the past, when a right-wing home extremist killed 77 folks with a bomb, a rifle and a pistol.
Individuals have “skilled that their secure native setting all of a sudden turned a harmful place,” Norwegian King Harald V stated Thursday. “It shakes us all when horrible issues occur close to us, whenever you least anticipate it, in the course of on a regular basis life on the open avenue.”
Newly appointed Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere referred to as the assault “horrific.”
“That is unreal. However the actuality is that 5 folks have been killed, many are injured and plenty of are in shock,” Gahr Stoere informed Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
Dozens of individuals noticed the killings. Erik Benum, who lives on the identical street because the grocery store that was attacked, informed the AP he noticed store employees taking shelter in doorways.
“I noticed them hiding within the nook. Then I went to see what was occurring, and I noticed the police shifting in with a protect and rifles. It was a really unusual sight,” Benum stated.
Police, together with reinforcements from different cities, flooded into Kongsberg and blocked a number of roads. The blue lights of emergency autos and spotlights from a helicopter illuminated the scene.
On Thursday morning, the entire city was eerily quiet, he stated.
“Persons are unhappy and shocked,” Benum stated.
The primary church in Kongsberg was open for these in want of consolation.
“I don’t suppose anybody expects to have these sorts of experiences. However no one may think about this might occur right here in our little city,” the Rev. Reidar Aasboe informed the AP.
Olsen reported from Copenhagen, Denmark, and Lewis from London.