Norway's Bow-and-Arrow Rampage Is Considered a Possible Terrorist Attack.
The police stated that they had previously approached the suspect, a 37-year-old Danish citizen suspected of killing five people, due to worries about his radicalization.
On Thursday, a 37-year-old man was charged in connection with a bow-and-arrow rampage in a tiny town in Norway that left five people dead and three more wounded, in what authorities described as an apparent act of terrorism.
The police identified the suspect as Espen Andersen Brathen in a statement. The Norwegian security service, abbreviated PST, said detectives were still determining what drove the assailant to carry out his heinous assault in Kongsberg, approximately 50 miles southwest of Oslo.
Mr. Brathren was caught in Kongsberg, according to the statement.
Earlier, the regional police head stated that officials were aware of the suspect.
"We have previously communicated with him on concerns about radicalization," area police head Ole Bredrup Saeverud said at a news conference prior to the suspect's identification. When asked if the assailant was motivated by strong religious ideology, he responded, "We don't know, but it's natural to inquire."
The attack on Wednesday evening claimed the lives of four ladies and one guy. The perpetrator, who eluded an early police encounter, launched a hail of arrows at apparent strangers in Kongsberg.
The assailant, officials claimed early Thursday, was a Danish citizen who lived in the area and had converted to Islam.
The police chief stated that the last time authorities were made aware of concerns about the suspect's radicalization was last year, although he did not specify who approached them with those concerns. He stated simply that police had investigated various claims.
Mr. Brathren is scheduled to appear before a judge on Friday, at which time the particular allegations against him will be disclosed.
According to Fredrik Neumann, the man's court-appointed lawyer, he was working with police and undergoing a mental health evaluation. He stated that the man's mother was of Danish ancestry and his father was of Norwegian ancestry.
Mr. Bredrup Saeverud said the five victims slain ranged in age from 50 to 70, and the three people injured in the attack were expected to survive.
It was Norway's deadliest mass killing since 2011, when a far-right fanatic murdered 77 people, the majority of them were youngsters at a summer camp.
The police provided additional details about the attack on Thursday. At 6:12 p.m., witnesses reported seeing commotion and unwarranted violence at a grocery in Kongsberg, a former silver mining community.
According to one woman, she saw people fleeing from a man standing on a street corner with "arrows in a quiver on his shoulder and a bow in his hand." According to her, as he discharged the arrows, people fled for their lives.
Officers encountered the attacker six minutes after the initial report was received. He escaped by firing arrows at the cops.
At one point, the attacker crossed a bridge across the Numedalslagen River and made his way through the town, a bucolic escape from the hustle and bustle of Oslo.
According to the authorities, as he made his way across town, he struck victims seemingly at random. One of the injured was a police officer who was not on duty, and a photo of him with an arrow in his back was extensively disseminated online.
The police begged the public on Thursday to "please refrain from sharing photos," calling it "unwise and insulting."
The police stated that the attacker used a second weapon during the rampage, but provided no other details. However, it was the arrows that indicated the path of destruction.
At 6:47 p.m., the culprit was apprehended – 35 minutes after the initial allegations of violence.
Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen, a police lawyer, told TV2 that the suspect has lived in the community for several years.
Norway has a low murder rate. In a country with a population of just more than five million, 31 murders occurred last year, the majority of which were people who knew one another.
Still, the nation has not come to terms with the devastation of the 2011 mass shooting.
Norway's authorities have expressed worry that not enough is being done to eradicate right-wing extremism, particularly among youth. In July, specialists with the country's intelligence services warned that teenage men and boys still idolize the gunman a decade after the 2011 incident.
Norway has strict gun control legislation, and the country has only suffered one mass shooting prior to that attack: In 1988, a gunman murdered four individuals and injured another two.
Norway's authorities have stepped up their efforts to combat terrorism and political violence over the last decade. This effort has included the development of a "action plan" outlining preventive steps aimed at identifying and resolving the type of radicalization that can result in violence.
A critical component of the operation is reaching out to individuals who have come to the authorities' attention, beginning with what is commonly referred to as a "conversation of concern" in the country.
On Thursday morning, as the aftermath from the latest attack continued to echo, a new center-left administration was sworn in.
Jonas Gahr Store, the newly installed Labour Party leader, stated during the event that "what happened in Kongsberg is dreadful."