The attack had “the appearance of an act of terrorism” at this “stage” of the investigation, according to the Norwegian secret service PST on Thursday afternoon. “There have been fears of radicalization before,” said Norwegian police officer Ole Bredrup Säverud at a press conference in the morning. This was followed up in 2020 and before. The motive is still unclear.
According to the man’s lawyer, he is willing to cooperate with the police. He has a Danish mother and a Norwegian father and lives in Kongsberg, said the lawyer. His client had already given information about the crime during an interrogation that night. The prosecutor told the Norwegian broadcaster TV2 that the man had admitted the acts. She confirmed that he had been in contact with the Norwegian health care system several times without giving any further details about an existing mental illness.
Possibly other weapons in use
Five people were killed and two injured in the attack. The victims are between 50 and 70 years old. Among the injured is a policeman who was off duty and is said to have been in a supermarket. The attacks occurred in several locations in the city center – one of which was a branch of the cooperative food chain Coop. Some of the victims were in the supermarket, the investigators said.
Police officers on duty were shot at with arrows while the alleged perpetrator escaped. There was a large number of police. Helicopters circled over the center of Kongsberg, bomb experts were also on duty. In Norway, bows and arrows are not considered a weapon, but rather sports equipment and can therefore be freely purchased by anyone. According to the Norwegian news agency NTB, the suspect is said to have used other weapons as well.
Police officers are now supposed to carry firearms
According to the police spokesman, all victims may not have been killed until the police arrived. Due to the extensive investigation, he did not want to disclose any further details at first. The act took place around 6:30 p.m. in the center of the city of 26,000, which is around 80 kilometers southwest of Oslo. On the night of Thursday it was said by the responsible police chief Öyvind Aas that one suspected a lone perpetrator. There is no search for further perpetrators.
Usually the Norwegian police are not armed, according to a BBC report. Following the attacks, as a precautionary measure, police ordered all police officers in Norway to carry firearms.
Horror in politics
Norway’s outgoing Prime Minister Erna Solberg expressed her condolences to those affected by the violence. “Our thoughts go first of all to those affected and their relatives,” said Solberg late on Wednesday evening at a press conference in Oslo that was called at short notice. She will be replaced by the Social Democrat Jonas Gahr Störe at the head of government on Thursday after her election defeat a month ago. The act did not affect the change of government, said Solberg. “The reports coming from Kongsberg tonight are horrific,” said Solberg.
Störe was shocked: “What we had to hear from Kongsberg tonight shows that a cruel and brutal act had been committed.” The head of government in neighboring Sweden, Stefan Löfven, wrote on Twitter that his thoughts were with the victims and their relatives. It is a “terrible attack”.