Norwegian police detained a Dane for the bow and arrow attack that killed five people and injured two more this Wednesday (13) in Kongsberg, in southeastern Norway. Authorities have not ruled out a terrorist motivation for the act.
The suspect, detained shortly after the attack, is a 37-year-old Danish citizen resident of Kongsberg, according to a police statement.
“We decided to confirm this information, because there are many rumors circulating on social networks about the author of the attack, some from people who have no connection with the serious acts committed,” the police said.
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Earlier, Øyvind Aas, a local police official, confirmed that the attack left “five people dead and two injured”.
The two wounded were hospitalized in intensive care units, but according to Aas, there is nothing to indicate that their lives are in danger. One of them was a police officer who was off duty and was in one of several places attacked.
“According to the information we have so far, there is only one person involved in these acts,” added Aas, who also clarified that the motives for the attack are unknown.
According to the usually well-informed Norwegian channel TV2, the alleged perpetrator of the attack was a Norwegian converted to Islam with a medical background, which the authorities ended up denying.
“Looking at how things developed, it’s natural to assume that this was a terrorist attack,” Øyvind Aas said at a later press conference.
“The detained man has not yet been questioned and it is too early to talk about the motives for the attack,” he added, detailing that investigators “keep all hypotheses open.”
Who is the suspect?
The man suspected of carrying out the bow and arrow attack that left five dead in Kongsberg, a city in southeastern Norway, is a Dane converted to Islam, with whom police were in contact for fear of his radicalization, investigators said on Thursday (14).
“This is a convert to Islam,” Norwegian police chief Ole Bredrup Saeverud said during an interview in Tønsberg.
“There were fears related to a radicalization of the individual”, presented as a 37-year-old Dane, he added.
According to him, the fear led authorities to keep an eye on the man until 2020.
Five people died, and two were injured in the Kongsberg attack, which caused a huge national uproar. In the last decade, the Scandinavian country has been the target of two attacks from the far right.
“We are investigating to determine if it was a terrorist attack,” said Ole Bredrup Saeverud, adding that “we are relatively sure that he acted alone.”
The victims are four women and one man, aged between 50 and 70 years. No wounded are in critical condition. The suspect admitted the crimes during interrogation, police said.
A resident of Kongsberg, a city of 25,000 that is 80 kilometers east of Oslo, the man testified to investigators and will have a hearing on Thursday with a judge. It is likely that pretrial detention will be decreed.
Attorney Fredrik Neumann said the suspect showed an intention to cooperate.
“He explains in detail, speaks and cooperates with the police,” he reported.
The attack took place at various points across a large area of Kongsberg, particularly at a supermarket, where an off-duty police officer was injured.
Alerted at 6:12 pm (1:12 pm Brasília time), the police arrested the suspect more than half an hour later, at 6:47 pm. The agents were attacked with arrows during the operation and fired warning shots.
According to police, the suspect also used other weapons, but the authorities did not say what kind.
Witnesses reported the night of terror in Kongsberg.
Hansine, a resident who partially witnessed the attack, told TV2 that she heard screams and saw a woman seeking refuge, as well as “a man on a street corner with arrows in a quiver on his back and a bow in his hand.”
“Then I saw people running for their lives. One was a woman who was carrying a child by the hand,” he said.
The attack took place on the last day of the mandate of conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg. This Thursday, it passes power to a new, centre-left Executive, led by Jonas Gahr Støre, winner of the September 13 legislatives.
Støre lamented “horrible acts”.
“We are horrified by the tragic events in Kongsberg,” reacted King Harald V.
In response to the attack, the police determined that agents, who are generally unarmed, must carry weapons temporarily throughout the country.
A generally peaceful country, Norway has been the scene of far-right attacks for the past decade.
On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people by detonating a bomb near the seat of government in Oslo. He then opened fire at a Labor Youth event on the island of Utøya.
In August 2019, Philip Manshaus shot a mosque in the Oslo region, before being controlled by a mob, without the attack having left any serious injuries. Before the attack, he killed his adopted Asian sister for racism.