Bow-and-Arrow Attacker Is Suspected Extremist

Police in Norway say Muslim convert had shown signs of radicalization
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2021 6:44 AM CDT
Cops: Norway Attacker Had Been Flagged for Radicalization
Police investigate an arrow stuck in a wall after an attack in Kongsberg, Norway, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021.   (Terje Pedersen/NTB via AP)

Police in Norway say the man accused of killing five people in a bow-and-arrow attack Wednesday was on their radar and had been flagged for showing signs of radicalization. Regional police chief Ole Bredrup Saeverud described the suspect Thursday as a 37-year-old Danish citizen and a convert to Islam, the New York Times reports. Police believe he acted alone. More:

  • Worries about radicalization. The chief said police had previously been in contact with the suspect "regarding worries about radicalization." Saeverud said that while police don't know whether the rampage was motivated by religious extremism, "it's natural to ask the question."
  • Suspect has confessed. Police say the man admitted killing four women and a man in the attack in Kongsberg, around 40 miles southwest of Oslo. Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen, the police attorney leading the investigation, tells the AP that the suspect calmly told officers, "I did this," after his arrest. Police say all the victims were between 50 and 70 years old.

  • The timeline. Authorities say the man launched the attack in a supermarket around 6:12pm. Police say they made contact with him minutes later but he escaped after firing arrows at officers. He was arrested at 6:47pm. Saeverud says the man apparently didn't start killing people until police arrived at the scene, the AP reports. Two people were seriously injured in the attack, including an off-duty officer who was at the supermarket and not in uniform,
  • Attacks took place over a large area. Authorities say the attack covered a large area of the town, with the man walking around firing arrows at strangers, Reuters reports. Witnesses saw the man with a bow and a quiver of arrows. Police say they are investigating reports he also used other weapons.

  • Previous convictions. According to Norway's NRK public broadcaster, the suspect had previous convictions for drug and robbery offenses. He was also placed under a six-month restraining order last year that banned him from approaching his parents after he allegedly threatened to kill one of them, per the Guardian.
  • "This is absolutely devastating." Kongsberg Mayor Kari Anne Sand says the town of around 28,000 is a "completely ordinary community" that has been deeply shaken by the attack. Resident Fiona Herland tells the BBC that the town is "a very warm, cozy place—nothing happens here." "This is absolutely devastating," she says. "You can feel the atmosphere here has darkened."
  • Cops ordered to carry guns. Police in Norway don't normally carry guns, but officers nationwide were ordered to carry firearms following the attack, which was the country's worst mass killing since right-wing extremist Anders Breivik killed 77 people in 2011.
(Read more Norway stories.)

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