© Reuters. An arrow is seen on a wall after several people were killed and others injured by a man using a bow and arrows to carry out attacks, in Kongsberg, Norway, on October 13, 2021. Terje Bendiksby / NTB / via REUTERS
By Terje Solsvik and Gwladys Fouche
OSLO (Reuters) – A 37-year-old Danish national is suspected of killing five people with a bow and arrow and other weapons in the Norwegian city of Kongsberg in a rare mass killing incident in Norway, police said on Thursday.
Two people, including an off-duty police officer, were injured in the Wednesday night attacks https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/man-kills-several-people-norway-bow-arrow- attacks-police-say-2021-10-13, which took place at different locations in the city, 68 km (42 miles) southwest of the capital Oslo.
The man, who was in custody, had cooperated with the police and been implicated in the attacks, although he has yet to plead guilty.
“He is admitting the facts of the case,” police attorney Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen told the NTB news agency.
“We will have to see if he pleads guilty too,” he later told private broadcaster TV2.
The man, who lives in the Kongsberg area, is believed to have acted alone, police said. They didn’t say anything about a possible motive.
The royal family of Norway expressed their condolences.
“We are horrified by the tragic events in Kongsberg,” King Harald said in a letter addressed to the mayor of the city.
“The rest of the nation is with you,” wrote the 84-year-old monarch.
The death toll was the worst of any attack in Norway since 2011, when far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people, most of them teenagers, in a youth camp.
“This very serious situation, of course, is making a deep impression on Kongsberg and those who live here,” said district police chief Oeyvind Aas in a statement.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was shocked and saddened by the news. “My thoughts are with the loved ones of the victims and all the people of Norway at this very difficult time,” he said in a tweet.
Police said they were releasing information about the man’s nationality after rumors surfaced on social media about people not linked to the attacks.
Norway’s incoming Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, who will take office on Thursday after winning the general election last month, said the outgoing government had kept him informed.
“What we have learned from Kongsberg testifies to a gruesome and brutal act,” Stoere said in a statement to the NTB news agency.
The attacks lasted for more than half an hour in a “large area” of Kongsberg, including at a Coop Extra grocery store, the Aftenposten newspaper said, citing police.
A woman who lives near the store said she heard alarms while walking home.
“I saw a group of policemen, including one who was holding several arrows in his hand,” the woman, Marit Hoefle, told the newspaper.
Investigators are considering whether the attacks are an act of terrorism and said they would release more details on the incident later on Thursday.
Police were questioning the suspect and were cooperating, his defense attorney said.
“He is cooperating and is giving detailed statements about this event,” attorney Fredrik Neumann told public broadcaster NRK.
Footage from one of the crime scenes showed an arrow that appeared to be stuck in the wall of a wood-paneled building.
About 28,000 people live in Kongsberg Township.
Following the attacks, the police leadership said it had ordered officers across the country to carry firearms. The Norwegian police are normally unarmed, but officers have access to weapons when necessary.