Police open fire after Oslo car chase

A car chase through the streets of the Norwegian capital Oslo in the early hours of Wednesday morning ended with police opening fire after having been threatened by a gun-toting suspect.

A 34-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman were later detained after surrendering to police.

The incident occurred after a short car chase in the Grünerløkka area of the city at around 2am on Wednesday morning, according to a report in the Aftenposten daily.

"At 2.03am a canine unit began pursuing a Swedish-registered car that would not stop for inspection. The underlying reason for the check was the behaviour of the driver," said Finn Belle at Oslo police to the NTB news agency.

The car chase continued to the Thorvald Meyer street, where the police unit was threatened with a firearm held by one of the people in the car. The car later stopped in the Øvrefoss area when the gunman climbed out of the car and took aim at the police unit.

The police then opened fire, letting off two shots through the windscreen of their patrol car. According to Aftenposten the shots hit the driver-side window of the other vehicle.

The two suspects, a 34-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman, then elected to give themselves up to the police and were formally arrested.

The couple, while travelling in a Swedish-registered car, are both reported to be Norwegian and are previously known to police. The pair were taken to Grønland police station and will be interrogated on Wednesday. The police have not yet confirmed whether the vehicle, a Volvo, has been reported stolen.

Police confirmed that they located the weapon and various other items in the vehicle at the time of the arrests.

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Norwegian police end emergency carrying of arms

The temporary arming of all police in Norway, ordered after an attack in Kongsberg left five dead, ended on Friday morning. 

Police in Norway will no longer be armed after the temporary order was dropped. Pictured is a police van in Oslo.
Police in Norway will no longer be armed after the temporary order was dropped. Pictured is a police van in Oslo. Photo by David Hall on Flickr.

The order for all police in Norway to be armed following an attack in Kongsberg last week was lifted on Friday morning. 

The police said in a statement Friday that, based on the information it had received from police security service PST, there was no longer any basis for maintaining the national armament order. 

“Norwegian police are basically unarmed in daily service, with firearms being stored in police vehicles, and police can be armed in connection with specific missions when needed. In that sense, we are now moving to a normal situation,” Tone Vangen, emergency preparedness director for the police, said in a statement

The police had been armed since last Wednesday following the incident in Kongsberg where Danish citizen Espen Andersen Bråthen killed five with an undisclosed sharp object and shot at police with a bow and arrow.

During police questioning, Bråthen confessed to the killings and to wounding three others. 

Police said earlier this week that the victims were chosen at random. The Danish citizen was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Bråthen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

The 37-year-old had previously announced publicly that he had converted to Islam and police initially reported that there had been fears of radicalisation. 

But police later said that mental illness was to be considered the primary motive for the attack. 

 “As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt said to reporters earlier this week.