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Suspect in Norway bow-and-arrow killings had been flagged over radicalisation

Police work near a site after a man killed some people in Kongsberg, Norway, Thursday, October 14, 2021 (Terje Bendiksby/NTB via AP) 
Jan M Olsen, Associated Press

A Danish man in custody suspected of a bow-and-arrow attack that killed five people in a small Norwegian town is a Muslim convert who had previously been flagged as having being radicalised, police said.

“There earlier had been worries of the man having been radicalised,” police chief Ole B Saeverud told a press conference.

The victims were four women and one man aged between 50 and 70, Mr Saeverud said.

Two other people were injured.

The Danish man is suspected of having shot at people in a number of locations in the town of Kongsberg on Wednesday evening, with several of the victims in a supermarket.

Officials believe that the suspect did not start killing people until police arrived on the scene.

“From what we know now, it is reasonably clear that some, probably everyone, was killed after the police were in contact with the perpetrator,” Mr Saeverud said.

Speaking calmly and clearly after his arrest, the suspect told police “I did this”, said Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen, the police lawyer who is leading the investigation.

“He talked calmly and clearly described what he had done. He admitted killing the five people,” she said.

There was “a confrontation” between officers and the assailant in connection with the arrest, police said.

The two wounded victims are in intensive care. They include an off-duty police officer who was inside the store.

Police said officers responding to the incident were also shot at with arrows.

The attack happened in clear view of dozens of witnesses in the small town, according to onlookers.

Witness Erik Benum, who lives on the same road as the supermarket that was one of the crime scenes, said that he saw shop workers sheltering in doorways.

He said: “I saw them hiding in the corner. Then I went to see what was happening, and I saw the police moving in with a shield and rifles. It was a very strange sight.”

The suspect is being held on preliminary charges, which is a step short of formal charges. Police believe he acted alone.

Officers were alerted to the attack at around 6.15pm on Wednesday and arrested the suspect about 30 minutes later.

Police spokesman Oeyvind Aas said: “We will return to a more detailed description of the course of events when we have a better overview of what happened.

“It goes without saying that this is a very serious and extensive situation, and it naturally affects Kongsberg and those who live here.”

Prime minister-designate Jonas Gahr Stoere, who is expected to take office later on Thursday, called the attack “horrific”.

“This is unreal. But the reality is that five people have been killed, many are injured and many are in shock,” Mr Gahr Stoere told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said he was “shocked and saddened by the tragic news coming from Norway”.

Town officials said the main church is open to anyone in need of support.

Kongsberg, a small town of 26,000 inhabitants, is about 40 miles south west of Oslo.

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