EIt was 6:12 p.m. when the first emergency calls came to the police. A man pulls a bow and arrow through the center of Kongsberg. An old Norwegian mining town about 80 kilometers southwest of Oslo, it has a good 27,000 inhabitants today. The man shoots at people in a supermarket and on his way through the center. Injury and death are reported quickly. Witnesses later tell of a man with arrows in his quiver and a bow in hand. By people who seek refuge or try to flee. Pictures show dark arrows on the asphalt and in wooden walls.
At 6.47 p.m., the alleged perpetrator was arrested by the emergency services. In the 34 minutes in between, he killed five people and seriously injured two others. The man confessed to the police, his lawyer later said, according to the Norwegian media. His motive was initially unclear. The police didn’t want to rule out terror. There are indications that this at least appears to be possible.
On Thursday, Norway was still deeply shocked by the crime the night before. Actually, Jonas Gahr Støre should have received all the attention in the country that day, the head of the Labor Party will take over the government on Thursday. Now the new Prime Minister has to speak of a “cruel and brutal” act, of the fact that all his thoughts are with the victims, their relatives and the emergency services. It seems pretty unreal.
“When you least expect it, in the middle of everyday life”
The Norwegian King Harald V expresses the sympathy of the royal family in an open letter to the mayor of Kongsberg. “It shakes us all when terrible things happen near us, when you least expect it, in the middle of everyday life on the open street,” it says. “Norway is a small country. If Kongsberg is hit as hard as society now, the rest of the nation will be with you. ”The Kongsberg Church has announced that it will be open Wednesday morning to anyone who needs someone to talk to. Or just silence.
After the police were initially very reluctant to provide information in the hours after the violence, a few more details were known by Thursday morning. The alleged perpetrator is said to be 37 years old, a Dane who lives in Kongsberg. He seemed to have chosen his victims indiscriminately, he is said to have acted alone and possibly used another weapon in addition to a bow and arrow. The police are said to have known the man through various incidents, and he is said to have been in contact with the health authorities several times. It was initially unclear which incidents were involved.
Even when the police appeared before the press again on Thursday morning, they did not want to commit themselves. Police chief Ole Bredrup Sæverud said it would take time to clarify this. Alone he stands in front of a gray wall, he does not even sit on the chair available for him or in front of the microphones. Follow several tracks. He confirms, however, that the police were already aware of the man – there were concerns about the man’s possible radicalization. The man had converted to Islam. However, there was no report to him this year, but the year before. It was investigated.
Ole Bredrup Sæverud also says the man killed four women and one man, all between the ages of 50 and 70. The two injured are out of danger. According to his account, the police had contact with the alleged perpetrator for the first time in Kongsberg at 6:18 p.m. on Wednesday evening and were also shot at with arrows. The man was able to escape at first, apparently only in the minutes after that he killed the five people. He says nothing about the exact content of the alleged perpetrator’s statement during the night, but the man is cooperative. And then Ole Bredrup calls on Sæverud to stop sharing films with dramatic scenes from the evening on social media.
On Thursday afternoon, the report then came that the attack on Wednesday evening was, according to preliminary findings by the investigators, presumably an “act of terrorism”. The attack in Kongsberg has at this “stage” of the investigation “the appearance of an act of terrorism,” said the Norwegian secret service PST.