Wednesday, December 1

Bow and arrow killings in Norway are seen as an ‘act of terror’

Police identified the attacker as Espen Andersen Braathen, a 37-year-old Danish national, who was arrested on the street Wednesday night. They said he used the bow and arrow and possibly other weapons to randomly target people in a supermarket and other places in Kongsberg, a city of about 26,000 where he lived.

Witnesses said their quiet neighborhood of wooden houses and birch trees became a scene of terrifying screams and confusion.

Police continue to work in Kongsberg after a man killed five people on Thursday. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB (AP)

“The screaming was so intense and horrible that there was never any doubt that something very serious was going on,” said Kurt Einar Voldseth, who had returned home from an errand when he heard the commotion. “I can only describe it as a ‘death cry’, and it burned in my mind.”

Four women and a man between the ages of 50 and 70 died and three other people were injured, police said.

Andersen Braathen is being held on preliminary charges and will face a custody hearing on Friday. Police said they believe he acted alone.

“The whole act appears to be an act of terror,” said Hans Sverre Sjoevold, head of Norway’s national intelligence service, known as PST.

Police technician on his way to a building in Kongsberg city center after a man killed five people on Thursday. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB (AP)

“We don’t know what the motivation of the perpetrator is,” Sjoevold said in English. “We have to wait for the result of the investigation.”

He said the suspect was known to the PST, but declined to elaborate. The agency said the level of terrorist threat to Norway was unchanged at “moderate.”

Regional Police Chief Ole B. Saeverud described the man as a Muslim convert, saying that “there had been concerns before that the man had become radicalized,” but did not elaborate or say why he had been previously singled out or the authorities did so in response.

Police were alerted to a man firing arrows around 6:15 p.m. and arrested him about 30 minutes later. Regional prosecutor Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen told The Associated Press that after the man’s arrest, “she clearly described what she had done. She admitted to killing all five people.”

He said the bow and arrows were just part of the attacker’s arsenal. Police have not said what other weapons were used.

Norwegian media reported that the suspect had previously been convicted of theft and drug possession, and last year a court granted him a restraining order to stay away from his parents for six months after he threatened to kill one of them.

The flag on half-staff in Kongsberg the day after a man killed five people in the city on Wednesday night. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB (AP)

Svane Mathiassen told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that the suspect will be examined by forensic psychiatric experts, which “is not unusual in such serious cases.”

Mass killings are rare in Norway, where crime is low, and the attack immediately drew comparisons to the country’s worst peacetime killing a decade ago, when a right-wing national extremist killed 77 people with a bomb, a rifle and a pistol.

People “have experienced that their safe local environment has suddenly turned into a dangerous place,” Norwegian King Harald V. said on Thursday. everyday life on the street “.

Newly appointed Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere called the attack “horrible.”

“This is unreal. But the reality is that five people died, many were injured and many are in shock,” Gahr Stoere told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

Dozens of people saw the murders. Erik Benum, who lives on the same street as the supermarket that was attacked, told the AP that he saw store workers taking refuge in the doors.

Flowers and candles were displayed in the center of Kongsberg after a man killed five people in the city on Wednesday night. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB (AP)

“I saw them hiding on the corner. Then I went to see what was going on and I saw the police coming in with a shield and rifles. It was a very strange sight,” Benum said.

The police, along with reinforcements from other cities, flooded Kongsberg and blocked several roads. Blue emergency vehicle lights and helicopter headlights illuminated the scene.

By Thursday morning, the entire city was eerily quiet, he said.

“People are sad and shocked,” Benum said.

Kongsberg’s main church was open to those in need of comfort.

“I don’t think anyone expects to have these kinds of experiences. But no one could imagine that this could happen here in our small town,” Reverend Reidar Aasboe told the AP.

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