5 Dead, 3 Injured in Norway Bow and Arrow Attack That Authorities Say Appear to be an 'Act of Terrorism'

Police officers cordon off the scene where they are investigating in Kongsberg, Norway after a man armed with bow killed several people before he wasarrested by police on October 13, 2021.
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The suspect, whose name has not been released, confessed to the killings after he was taken into custody, according to authorities.

A 37-year-old man has been charged with killing five people in a bow and arrow attack in the Norweigan town of Kongsberg on Wednesday in what authorities are calling an act of terrorism, according to published reports.

Four women and one man, between the ages of 50 and 70, were killed in the grisly attack. Three other people were seriously injured, including an off-duty police officer, who was in the Coop Extra supermarket on Kongsberg's west side at the time of the attack, regional police chief Ole B. Saeverud said on Thursday, the BBC News reported. 

The suspect, whose name has not been released, confessed to the killings after he was taken into custody, according to authorities.

“He clearly described what he had done. He admitted killing the five people,” Regional Prosecutor Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen told the Associated Press.

It was reported that the suspect allegedly escaped an initial confrontation with police before he was arrested, according to the BBC.

A bow and arrow had been used in the attack, but the suspect had an arsenal of other weapons that had not yet been disclosed, according to prosecutor Svane Mathiassen, Weapons experts and technical officers were helping in the investigation, the prosecutor said, the Associated Press reported.

Norway’s domestic security agency, known as PST, believes the suspect’s actions “currently appear to be an act of terrorism.”

“Attacks on random people in public places are a recurring modus operandi among extremist Islamists carrying out terror in the West,” the agency said. 

It said “the most probable scenario” for such an attack in Norway “is an attack carried out by one or a few perpetrators with simple weapon types, against targets with few or no security measures.”

“The investigation will clarify in more detail what the incidents were motivated by,” PST said in a statement.

The suspect, who reportedly is a Danish citizen, was described by police as a Muslim convert, who was previously flagged as having been radicalized, and had been on their radar, officials said, according to the AP.

“There earlier had been worries of the man having been radicalized,” Police Chief Saeverud said during a Wednesday press briefing, but did not provide details on why he made that statement, nor did he explain why the suspect had been previously flagged by authorities, the news outlet reported. 

Police said the suspect had walked around the downtown area of Kongsberg, randomly shooting arrows. Police were alerted around 6:15 p.m. and 30 minutes later took the man in custody.

Dozens of people witnessed the attack. A man who lives on the same road as the supermarket told the news outlet that he saw shop-workers hiding in doorways, and then saw police moving in with shields and rifles. “It was a very strange sight,” he said.

Police believe the suspect acted alone. He is currently being held on preliminary charges before he gets formally charged for the crimes. On Friday, he will appear for his custody hearing, the news outlet reported. 

The suspect’s defense lawyer, Fredrik Neumann, told the BBC that the suspect was cooperating with authorities. He said the suspect had a Danish mother and Norwegian father, the news outlet reported. 

The town of Kongsberg has a population 26,000 and is located near Norway’s capital. 

Norwegian police are not usually armed, but after the attack, the Norwegian Police Directorate issued a national order for officers nationwide to carry firearms as an extra precaution, the BBC reported.

“This is an additional emergency measure. The police currently have no concrete indications that there is a change in the threat level in the country,” the Norweigan Police Directorate statement said. 

The attack was Norway's deadliest since far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik murdered 77 people, most of them at a children's Labour Party summer camp on the island of Utoya in July 2011, the BBC reported. 

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