Espen Andersen Braathen, 37, is charged with the murder of five people who were killed in a terrorist attack using bows and arrows and other weapons in Kongsberg, Norway
A bow and arrow terrorist who killed five people in Norway broke into houses and murdered “completely random victims,” police say.
Espen Andersen Braathen is charged with the murders and is under investigation by forensic psychiatric experts, according to PST security.
The 37-year-old Danish suspect converted to Islam and was concerned to police about signs of radicalization.
Flags waved at half mast over Kongsberg, where the victims, four women and one man between the ages of 50 and 70, were killed. Two people were injured in the attack, including an off-duty police officer.
Norwegian police said the attacker arbitrarily broke into homes and murdered the strangers he met there.
Police attorney Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen told the state broadcaster NRK: “The dead were found outside and were found inside the apartment building,”
“We have information that the perpetrator entered houses where he has committed murder.”
She added: “Based on our information and our perception of the case, the victims are completely random.”
NTB / AFP via Getty Images)
A statement from the Norwegian Security Service PST said: “The Kongsberg incidents currently appear to be an act of terrorism, but the investigation, led by the Southeast Police District, will clarify more precisely what motivated the incidents.”
A police attorney told Reuters that Braathen admitted killing the victims. His lawyer only confirmed that Braathen was cooperating with the police and giving a detailed testimony.
Police were concerned about signs of radicalization on the suspect ahead of the bow and arrow and other weapon attacks, a senior official said.
Norwegian PST security police chief Hans Sverre Sjoevold said Braathen has spent “in and out” of health facilities in the past.
Markus Kultima, 23, who lives in Kongsberg and works in a beer shop and lives above the shop, witnessed parts of the attack.
“I saw a man coming with an arrow in his back,” Kultima told Reuters. He said it was the off duty officer who told him to go home.
“I had to go in the direction this guy came from.
That was very difficult, “said Kultima.
A relative of the suspect, who spoke to the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet on condition of anonymity, 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 of any attack in Norway since 2011, when right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people, most of them teenagers in a youth camp.
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said on his first day in office after his election victory last month: “My first thoughts go to Kongsberg, to the injured, the injured and those who are living with the shock.”
The attack also shows deficiencies in Norway’s psychiatric care, Stoere said at a press conference.
“The last 24 hours have shown that we are facing great challenges,” he said. “One in four or five people referred (treatment) is turned down.”