Espen Andersen Brothen, 37, a Danish citizen, is due to appear in court on Friday, but police have yet to disclose those charges.
Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) chief Hans Sverre Sjögvold told reporters on Thursday that the attack “appears as if it may have been an act of terrorism” but noted that it is important that the investigation proceed and “we need to make it clear”. Have to do what is the purpose of this. The accused are there.”
Police chief Ole Bredrup Severud said officers had been in contact with the person “as a result of previous concerns related to radicalization”. Officials also revealed that the suspect had converted to Islam.
The suspect didn’t come on their radar this year, however, Severud indicated that police had “received no reports in 2021 regarding radicalization.”
Four women and one man were killed in this attack, while three people were injured. “We have some information about five people who died. Four are women and one man, none have been formally identified yet. It will take some time. They are all in the age group of 50 to 70 years, Severud said.
A timeline of Wednesday’s events showed that it took only 35 minutes between the police’s first report of a man shooting with a bow and arrow and the arrest of the suspect.
Severud said the first call alert police came to the operation center at 6:12 pm. He said that immediately a patrol party was sent to the spot, followed by three more people. The first patrol at the scene saw the criminal only briefly.
He said that within minutes, messages were pouring in from members of the public that the suspect had been seen in several places in Kongsberg.
By the time the suspect was arrested at 6:47 pm, 22 police patrols had been deployed and more resources were on their way. Warning shots were fired at the time of the arrest, Severud said.
From what the police now know, “it seems fairly clear that everyone was probably killed after the police first came into contact with the perpetrator,” he said.
Police said that the criminal is believed to have acted alone.
A witness to the attack, Linda Ostergaard, was on her way home on a bicycle with her two daughters, according to Swedish CNN affiliate Expressen.
“My youngest daughter was a few meters in front of me when she suddenly stopped because there was a lot of blue light,” Ostergaard said.
“We saw a police car coming with a siren, and it stopped at the top of the road. Two policemen jumped out of the car with weapons and ran into the shop here, and they were shouting, ‘Armed cops, weapons put it.'”
“Then we were told to walk away, that we had to go to safety. So we ran over there to the corner, and stood there on the corner. There, we met another man, who said that it was he who told the police and that the offender had shot down here behind him, and then we saw that there was an arrow lying in the path. There was no crossbow, only a long arrow.”
‘The criminal has done a terrible act’
The attack comes on the eve of the new government coming to power after ousting the long-ruling Conservative Party after last month’s parliamentary elections.
Labor leader Jonas Gahar Store assumed the role of Prime Minister on Thursday. He said on social media that his first call in the new role was to the mayor of Kongsberg.
“We have learned more over the course of last night, this morning and this afternoon about what atrocities took place, the brutal acts of innocent people exposed, the kind of unrest and fear that struck the community in Kongsberg, and spread across the country,” the store added during an introductory press conference.
“This shows that our society is vulnerable,” Store said. “It is not good for us to conclude that what is the motive behind this action. The police should be allowed to finish their work and clarify, but this again emphasizes that the preparation is a complex for the society. have work.”
The new prime minister will visit the city on Friday, he confirmed. The night before, as reports of the attacks were still pouring in, his predecessor Erna Solberg – during his final hours in the role – described the developments as “horrific” and promised that “all necessary resources” were being deployed. .
“The perpetrator has committed a horrific act against many people. This is a very dramatic situation that has hit Kongsberg society hard, and the events have shaken us all,” she said.
Norway’s King Harald expressed his sympathy in a brief message to the mayor of Kongsberg on Thursday, saying “the rest of the nation stands with you.”
“Our sympathies go out to the families of the injured and those injured in grief and despair,” he said. “And we think of all the people affected in Kongsberg who have experienced that their safe local environment has suddenly become a dangerous place. It shakes us all when we have terrible things happening, when you at least Let’s expect it, in the open street in the middle of everyday life.”
The attack comes a decade after Norway’s worst terrorist attack.
In August 2019, another man armed with guns stormed an Oslo mosque before being overpowered. That year, the country’s intelligence service reported that right-wing terrorism was on the rise globally, and warned that the country would be targeted in the near future.
CNN’s Rob Pichetta, Vasco Cottovio, Seb Shukla and Liane Kolyrin contributed to this report.