Police said a bow and arrow terrorist attacker who killed five people in Norway broke into homes and killed “completely random victims”.
Espen Andersen Braathen is charged with the murders and will be evaluated by forensic experts, according to the PST security service.
The 37-year-old Danish suspect converted to Islam and has worried police about signs of radicalization.
Flags were lowered at half-mast in Kongsberg, where the victims, four women and one man, aged 50 to 70, were killed. Two people, including a police officer, were injured in the attack.
Norwegian police said the attacker broke into random houses and killed strangers he encountered there.
Police attorney Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen told state television TRNC: “The dead were found outside and found inside the dwelling”
“We have information that the perpetrator broke into the homes where he committed murder.”
“Based on the information we have and the way we perceive the incident, these are completely random victims.”
NTB/AFP via Getty Images)
“The events in Kongsberg now appear to be an act of terrorism, but the investigation by the Southeastern police district will clarify in more detail what happened,” the Norwegian security service said in a statement released by PST. Events are motivated.”
Braathen admitted to killing the victims, a police lawyer told Reuters. His lawyer only confirmed that Braathen had cooperated with the police and made a detailed statement.
A senior official said police were concerned about signs of radicalization in the suspect prior to the attacks with bows, arrows and other weapons.
Hans Sverre Sjoevold, head of Norway’s PST security police, said Braathen has a history of “in and out” medical institutions.
Markus Kultima, a 23-year-old Kongsberg resident who works at a brewery and lives above the store, witnessed parts of the attack.
“I saw a man walking with an arrow on his back,” Kultima told Reuters. He said it was the off-duty officer who told him to go home.
“I had to walk in the direction that man came from.
That was too heavy,” Kultima said.
Speaking to Danish newspaper Extra Bladet on condition of anonymity, a relative of the suspect described the man as mentally ill and said the family had been threatened for several years.
NTB/AFP via Getty Images)
The death toll was the worst attack in Norway since 2011, when far-right Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people, most of them young people, in a youth camp.
“My first thoughts are Kongsberg, the dead, the injured and those living in shock,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said on his first day in office after winning last month’s election.
Stoere said at a press conference that the attack also highlighted the shortcomings in Norway’s psychiatric care.
“The last 24 hours have shown that we are facing significant challenges,” he said. “One out of every four people referred (to treatment) or one out of every five are turned down.”