Norway bow and arrow attacks: Suspect in Kongsberg killings had been flagged for radicalisation, police say

14 October 2021, 08:20 | Updated: 14 October 2021, 12:34

The suspect in the Norway bow and arrow rampage which left five people dead had been flagged for possible signs of radicalisation, it has emerged.

Officers had been worried about signs the man, who is a Muslim convert, may have been radicalised, police chief Ole Bredrup Saeverud said at a news conference following last night's attack in Kongsberg.

The 37-year-old Danish man is in custody and will be assessed by forensic psychiatric experts.

According to prosecutor Ann Iren Svane Matthiassen, he admitted carrying out the attack in the town to the southwest of the capital Oslo, which left two others wounded.

Four women and one man aged between 50 and 70 were killed. Two others were injured.

Police said the first officers sent to the scene had confronted the man, but that he shot at them with arrows and managed to get away.

"From what we know now, it appears reasonably clear that someone, probably everyone, was killed after the police were in contact with the perpetrator the first time," Mr Saeverud said.

He was arrested around 30 minutes after the initial confrontation, at 6.47pm.

Police say the suspect had been convicted several times in the past, and was the subject of a six-month restraining order against two close family members last year after he threatened to kill one of them.

He also had convictions for burglary and for possession of small amounts of cannabis in 2012.

Thomas Nilsen lives near the scene of the attacks and said he came out of his house after hearing what he initially thought was an argument.

"I thought it was war, because it was so intense." he told NRK.

"But then I heard a scream I have never heard before. It was a scream that burned into the soul. I will never forget that. I perceived it as a death cry."

After walking outside his home he saw people had started to gather to start administering life-saving first aid.

"In the end, there were 20 to 30 police cars, ambulances and fire trucks there," he told VG newspaper.

"Then I did not stay around to look."

The death toll was the worst of any attack in Norway since 2011, when far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people, most of them teenagers at a youth camp.

A number of Wednesday's victims were in a Coop Extra supermarket when they were attacked.

A spokesman for the chain said: "We can confirm that there has been a serious incident in our store and that none of our employees are physically injured.

"We are now concerned with following up our employees, and beyond that, we refer to the police investigation."

Both of the people left injured were taken into intensive care, and one was an off-duty police officer who was in the supermarket at the time.

Additional officers were deployed to Kongsberg following the incident, and the usually unarmed constables were told they should temporarily carry weapons.

The Norwegian police directorate said: "This is an additional contingency measure. The police do not yet have any concrete indications that there is a change in the threat level in the country."

Kongsberg, a small town of some 26,000 inhabitants, is situated about 41 miles southwest of Oslo.

Local officials said anyone who needed support would be welcome at the town's main church.