The 37-year-old man, who police said has recently converted to Islam and has shown signs of radicalization, was charged Thursday in connection with a bow and arrow riot in the center of a small mining town in Norway that killed five people. people.
The attack, which took place Wednesday night, killed four women and one man. The attacker, who had escaped the initial confrontation with the police, fired a volley of arrows at apparent strangers.
“We have previously contacted him about fears of radicalization,” regional police chief Ole Bredrup Saevrud said of the suspect. He did not offer any details and did not reflect on the motives.
The police chief said that the last time police attention was brought to the attention of the police, fears of the man’s radicalization were last year. When asked whether this person could be guided by an extreme religious ideology, the leader replied: “We do not know this, but it is natural to ask this question.”
According to Mr. Saevrud, the victims were between the ages of 50 and 70 and two of those injured in the attack are expected to survive.
The suspect, whose name has not been released, is a Danish citizen residing in the city, officials said Thursday. His court-appointed lawyer said he cooperated with the authorities, but officials declined to discuss his motives for the attack.
It was Norway’s worst massacre since 2011, when a far-right extremist killed 77 people, most of them teenagers in the camp.
Police on Thursday provided more details about the attack, which Prime Minister Erna Solberg described as “horrific.”
The first police call came at 18:12, witnesses described a scene of chaos and unprovoked violence in a supermarket in Kongsberg, a former silver mining village.
One woman told the local news agency TV2 that she saw people hiding from a man standing on a street corner with “arrows in a quiver on his shoulder and a bow in hand.” According to her, when he fired arrows, people fled.
Just six minutes after the first call to the police, the police confronted the attacker. He fired at the officers and fled.
At one point, an attacker crossed a bridge over the Numedalslagen River and carved through the city – the countryside that serves as a refuge for people seeking refuge from the bustle of Oslo, about 50 miles away.
Police said that while driving through the city, he attacked people, seemingly at random. One of the injured was a police officer on duty, and a photo of him with an arrow in his back went viral on the Internet.
On Thursday, police asked the public to “stop posting photos,” saying it was “unreasonable and disrespectful.”
Police said the attacker used a second weapon during the riots, but did not provide any details. But these were arrows that marked the trail of destruction.
At 18:47 the police detained the suspect – 34 minutes after the first reports of violence.
Police lawyer Ann Irene Svane Mathiassen told TV2 that the suspect lived in the city for several years.
Fredrik Neumann, the suspect’s court-appointed lawyer, said the man was detained in the nearby town of Drammen and cooperated with the authorities.
Murders are rare in Norway. In a country of just over five million people, 31 murders were committed last year, most involving people who knew each other.
However, the nation has yet to fully grasp the trauma of the devastating 2011 massacre.
The Norwegian authorities expressed concern that not enough is being done to eradicate right-wing extremism, especially among young people. In July, analysts from the country’s intelligence services warned that ten years after the 2011 terrorist attack, there are young men and boys who idolize the perpetrator.