Police say a 37-year-old man who recently converted to Islam and showed signs of becoming a fundamentalist has been charged with killing five people in a bow-and-arrow attack in the center of a small mining town in Norway. People
Four women and a man were killed in the attack on Wednesday evening. The assailant, who escaped from an initial face-to-face confrontation with police, apparently fired arrows at strangers.
“We have previously contacted him about concerns about being an extremist,” regional police chief Ole Bradrup said of the Saviord suspect. He did not elaborate or speculate.
The police chief said the man’s latest concerns about fundamentalism were brought to the attention of police last year. Asked if the man could be inspired by extreme religious ideology, the chief said, “We don’t know, but it’s normal to ask questions.”
The victims ranged in age from 50 to 70
The suspect, whose name has not been released, is a Danish national who lived in the city, officials said Thursday. His court-appointed lawyer said he was cooperating with authorities, but officials declined to speculate about his motive for the attack.
It was the deadliest massacre in Norway since 2011, when a right-wing extremist killed people, most of them teenagers in a camp.
On Thursday, police released more details about the attack, which Prime Minister Erna Solberg called “terrible.”
The first phone call to police came at 6:12 p.m., eyewitnesses described scenes of chaos and unprovoked violence at a supermarket in the city, Konsberg, a former silver mining village.
One woman told local media TV2 that she saw a man standing in a street corner hiding with an “arrow on his shoulder and a bow in his hand.” When he shot the arrow, he said, people ran for their lives.
Just six minutes after the first phone call to police, officers confronted the attacker. He shot an arrow at the officers and fled.
At one point, the assailant crosses a bridge across the Numedalslagen River and cuts through the city, a bucolic area about 50 miles away from Oslo, where people seek refuge from the tremors.
As he walked through the city, he thought he was attacking people at random. One of the injured was a duty police officer and a picture of him with an arrow behind him was widely circulated online.
Police on Thursday told the public to “please stop sharing pictures,” calling it “stupid and disrespectful.”
Police said the attacker used a second weapon in the violence, although they did not provide further details. But the arrows marked the path of destruction.
Evening: At 8 minutes, police arrested the suspect – minutes after the first report of violence.
A police lawyer, Ann Irene Soven Mathiasen, told TV2 that the suspect Living in the city for several years.
The suspect’s court-appointed lawyer, Frederick Newman, said the man was in Dramen custody in a nearby town and was cooperating with authorities.
Murder is rare in Norway. In a country of just five million people, there were 31 murders last year, most of them knowing each other.
Yet, the nation has yet to fully calculate the impact of the devastating 2011 genocide.
Norwegian authorities have expressed concern that not enough is being done to eradicate right-wing extremism, especially among young people. In July, analysts at the country’s intelligence agency warned that a decade after the 2011 attacks, young men and women were making idols of gunmen.