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

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 vital the investigation goes forward and “we get to make clear what the motives of the accused are.”

Officers had been in touch with the person, together with “on account 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 yr although, Sæverud indicated, saying the police had “acquired no studies in 2021 concerning radicalization.”

4 girls and one man have been killed within the assault, whereas three folks have been injured. “Now we have some details about the 5 individuals who died. There are 4 girls and a person, nobody has been formally recognized but. It can 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 studies 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 middle at 6:12 p.m., Sæverud mentioned. A patrol was instantly despatched to the placement, adopted by three extra, he mentioned. The primary patrol on the scene solely briefly noticed the perpetrator.

Within the minutes afterward, messages have 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 period 22 police patrols had been deployed and extra assets have been on their manner. Warning pictures have been fired on the time of the arrest, Sæverud mentioned.

From what police now know, “it seems fairly clear that in all probability everybody was killed after the police have been in touch 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 house along with her two daughters when she got here throughout the assault, based on Swedish CNN affiliate, Expressen.

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

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

“Then we have 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 known 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 highway. 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 Celebration.

Labour chief Jonas Gahr Retailer assumed the position of Prime Minister on Thursday. He mentioned on social media that his first cellphone name within the new position was to Kongsberg’s mayor.

“Now we have throughout final evening, this morning and this afternoon realized extra about what atrocities have taken place, what merciless acts harmless folks have been uncovered to, what unrest and worry hit the group in Kongsberg, and unfold to the entire nation,” Retailer added throughout an introductory press convention.

“This exhibits that our society is susceptible,” Retailer mentioned. “It’s not good for us to conclude what’s the motive, what’s behind this motion. The police should be allowed to complete their work and make clear, but it surely emphasizes once more that preparedness is a posh process for a society.”

The brand new Prime Minister will go to the city on Friday, he confirmed. The evening earlier than, as studies of the assaults have been nonetheless rising, his predecessor Erna Solberg — throughout her remaining hours within the position — described the developments as “grotesque” and promised “all mandatory assets” have been being deployed.

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

“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 arduous, and the occasions shake us all,” she mentioned.

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 family members and injured within the grief and despair,” he mentioned. “And we consider all these affected in Kongsberg who’ve skilled that their secure native surroundings instantly turned a harmful place. It shakes us all when horrible issues occur close to us, once you least anticipate it, in the course 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 yr, the nation’s intelligence service reported that right-wing terrorism was on the rise globally, and warned that the nation would probably 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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