Suspect in Norway assault named as police say they’re treating it as terrorism

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Espen Andersen Bråthen, a 37-year-old Danish citizen, is because of seem in court docket on Friday, however police have but to disclose the fees he faces.

Norwegian Police Safety Service (PST) chief Hans Sverre Sjøvold advised reporters on Thursday that the assault “seems as if it might be an act of terrorism” however famous that’s essential the investigation goes forward and “we get to make clear what the motives of the accused are.”

Officers had been involved with the person, together with “because of earlier issues associated to radicalization,” police chief Ole Bredrup Sæverud mentioned. Officers additionally revealed the suspect had transformed to Islam.

The suspect had not appeared on their radar this 12 months although, Sæverud indicated, saying the police had “acquired no experiences in 2021 relating to radicalization.”

A police investigator passes a Norwegian policeman standing guard Thursday as investigations continue into the deadly bow-and-arrow attack in Kongsberg, Norway.

4 girls and one man had been killed within the assault, whereas three folks had been injured. “We’ve got some details about the 5 individuals who died. There are 4 girls and a person, nobody has been formally recognized but. It’s going to take a while. They’re all aged 50 to 70 years,” Sæverud mentioned.

A timeline of the occasions Wednesday revealed that solely 35 minutes elapsed between the primary experiences to police of a person capturing with a bow and arrow and the arrest of the suspect.

The primary name alerting police got here into the operations heart at 6:12 p.m., Sæverud mentioned. A patrol was instantly despatched to the situation, adopted by three extra, he mentioned. The primary patrol on the scene solely briefly noticed the perpetrator.

Within the minutes afterward, messages had been coming in from members of the general public that the suspect had been noticed in a number of locations throughout Kongsberg, he mentioned.

The suspect was arrested at 6:47 p.m., by which era 22 police patrols had been deployed and extra assets had been on their manner. Warning photographs had been fired on the time of the arrest, Sæverud mentioned.

From what police now know, “it seems moderately clear that in all probability everybody was killed after the police had been involved with the perpetrator for the primary time,” he mentioned.

The perpetrator is believed to have acted alone, police mentioned.

One witness to the assault, Linda Ostergaard, was biking dwelling together with her two daughters when she got here throughout the assault, in line with Swedish CNN affiliate, Expressen.

“My youngest daughter was a few meters in entrance of me when she all of the sudden stopped as there have been a lot of blue lights,” Ostergaard mentioned.

“We noticed a police automotive with sirens on come, and it stopped on the prime of the road. Two policemen jumped out of the automotive with weapons and bumped into the store right here, and so they had been shouting, ‘armed police, put down the weapon.'”

“Then we had been advised to maneuver away, that we needed to get to security. So we ran to the nook there, and stood there on the nook. There, we met one other man who mentioned that it was he who had referred to as the police, and that the perpetrator had shot after him, down right here, after which we noticed that there was an arrow down there within the street. There was no crossbow solely an extended arrow mendacity there.”

Police officers cordon off the scene in Kongsberg on October 13.

‘Perpetrator has carried out horrific acts’

The assault got here on the eve of a brand new authorities taking workplace after final month’s parliamentary elections unseated the long-ruling Conservative Get together.

Labour chief Jonas Gahr Retailer is because of assume the function of Prime Minister on Thursday. In a Fb submit, Retailer described the assault as a “merciless and brutal act.”

Talking at a late-night information convention within the capital, Oslo, the nation’s outgoing Prime Minister Erna Solberg described the developments in Kongsberg as “grotesque” and promised “all needed assets” had been being deployed.

“The perpetrator has carried out horrific acts towards a number of folks. It’s a very dramatic state of affairs that has hit Kongsberg society onerous, and the occasions shake us all,” she mentioned.

An arrow is left in a wall at the scene where a man armed with bow killed several people in Kongsberg.

Norway’s King Harald expressed his sympathies Thursday in a brief message to the mayor of Kongsberg, saying that “the remainder of the nation stands with you.”

“We sympathize with the relations and injured within the grief and despair,” he mentioned. “And we consider all these affected in Kongsberg who’ve skilled that their secure native atmosphere all of the sudden grew to become a harmful place. It shakes us all when horrible issues occur close to us, while you least count on it, in the midst of on a regular basis life on the open road.”

The assault comes simply over a decade since Norway’s worst terrorist assault.

In July 2011, Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Behring Brevik killed 77 folks, lots of them youngsters, in a bomb assault and gun rampage. He was sentenced to 21 years in jail, the utmost potential time period.

In August 2019, one other man stormed an Oslo mosque armed with weapons earlier than being overpowered. That 12 months, the nation’s intelligence service reported that right-wing terrorism was on the rise globally, and warned that the nation would possible be focused within the close to future.

CNN’s Rob Picheta, Vasco Cotovio, Seb Shukla and Lianne Kolirin contributed to this report.

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