An act of violence with five dead and two injured caused sadness and bewilderment in Norway.
As the police announced a man armed with a bow and arrow in the southern Norwegian town of Kongsberg on Wednesday evening
people attacked. The alleged perpetrator could be caught. The police said early Thursday morning that he was a 37-year-old Danish citizen who lived in Kongsberg. The police assume that he acted alone. However, the background to the act initially remained unclear. The police did not want to rule out a terrorist motive either, but they would have to wait for further findings.
In the early morning, the man’s now appointed lawyer made a statement, as reported by the Norwegian broadcaster NRK. According to him, the arrested person wants to comment in detail on his act. The lawyer said about his background that the man had a Danish mother, but he was not sure whether or how long he had lived in Denmark.
Act of violence the day before the change of government
The incident occurred on the eve of the new Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre’s inauguration. The Social Democrat was shocked. “What we heard from Kongsberg tonight shows that a cruel and brutal act has been committed,” he told the NTB news agency late in the evening.
The outgoing Prime Minister Erna Solberg also expressed her condolences. “Our thoughts go first of all to those affected and their families”she said late Wednesday evening at a short-term press conference in Oslo. She will be replaced by Støre at the head of government on Thursday after her election defeat a month ago.
Multiple crime scenes
According to the police, the attacks occurred in several locations in a district of Kongsberg. The perpetrator moved over a larger area, the investigators said. The center of the city was cordoned off over a large area. Police chief Øyvind Aas said that several people reported to the police at 6.13 p.m. that an armed man was moving through the city and shooting people with a bow and arrow. As a crime scene was a Grocery store called. According to the police, the attacker was arrested about half an hour after the first emergency call.
One of the injured was a police officer who was not on duty at the time of the crime, Aas announced. He has not yet given any details about the dead or the other injured person.
Bad memories are awakened
The incident brings back bad memories: a good ten years ago Norway experienced the worst terrorist attack of its modern age
story. On July 22, 2011, right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik set off a bomb in Oslo’s government district, killing eight people.
Then he drove to the island of Utøya, about 30 kilometers away, where he pretended to be a police officer and opened fire on the participants in the annual summer camp of the youth organization of the Social Democratic Labor Party. 69 people, mostly teenagers and young adults, perished on Utøya Life. Breivik named right-wing extremist and Islamophobic motives for his actions. He was sentenced in August 2012 to the then maximum sentence of 21 years with a minimum imprisonment of ten years.
Until then, the people of Norway had hardly considered such an act of violence in their country to be conceivable.