Danish citizen charged with deadly Kongsberg attack

A 37-year-old Danish national has been charged over the killing of five people in an attack in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg, police have confirmed.

Norwegian Police released a statement early on Thursday confirming the arrest and charge of the Danish citizen living in Kongsberg, countering earlier television reports alleging the attacker was a Norwegian man.

Norwegian media have named the man, whose identity has not yet been confirmed by police. 

“A 37-year-old man has been arrested and charged after five people were killed and two injured in Kongsberg center on Wednesday night,” said the police statement.

“The man is a Danish citizen, but lives in Kongsberg. He was taken into police custody in Drammen on Wednesday night.”

“We decided to confirm this information because many rumours were circulating on social networks about the perpetrator of the attack, some [implicating] people who have no connection with these serious acts,” said a police statement.

According to Norwegian media the suspect was answering police questions.

He is cooperating and is giving detailed statements regarding this event,” his defence lawyer Fredrik Neumann told public broadcaster NRK.

Police lawyer Ann Irén Svane Mathiassen confirmed on Thursday morning that the 37-year-old Danish citizen “admits the circumstances” of the attack.

“He admits the circumstances. That it is him that undertook the actions he is charged with,” Mathiassen told Norwegian broadcaster TV2.

“But the extent to which he will admit his guilt, we must await,” she added.

The police lawyer added that the suspect was previously known to police due to “several different (earlier) matters”.

Norwegian media also report that the 37-year-old, who has lived in Kongsberg for several years, has been in contact with the health service several times.

Norwegian police had earlier indicated that the suspect had acted alone and could not rule out terrorism.

Police were informed of the attack at 6:13 pm in the town of 25,000 people around 80 kilometres west of the capital Oslo. The suspect was arrested at 6:47 pm.

Police later confirmed the death toll as five with two injured.

The two wounded were in critical care units in hospital but their lives did not appear to be in danger, he told a news conference.

“These events shake us,” said Prime Minister Erna Solberg on her last day in office.

READ ALSO: ‘Cruel and brutal’: Norway’s political leaders react to Kongsberg attack

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Norwegian police say 24 were targeted in Kongsberg attack

Norwegian police said on Wednesday that 24 people were now being treated as victims of a bow and arrow attack earlier this month in which five people were killed.

Police in Norway say 24 people were targeted in an attack in Kongsberg on October 13th. 5 were killed. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident.
Police in Norway say 24 people were targeted in an attack in Kongsberg on October 13th. 5 were killed. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen on Flickr.

A man attacked members of the public in the town of Kongsberg west of Oslo on October 13th, firing arrows and attacking people at random in their homes.

Main suspect Espen Andersen Bråthen, a Dane living in Kongsberg, was arrested at the scene and is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, with police believing mental illness is behind the attack.

“So far we have 24 victims in the case,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt told a press conference, giving a total figure for the first time. 

He said the number included the five killed, three who were injured and 16 others who had been “subjected to different events”.

“These are typically attempted murders and attempted woundings, mostly those who were shot at with a bow and arrow,” he said, stressing that the number could change.

Omholt said police were “keeping the door open” on the motive for the attack.

Bråthen had previously said on social media he had converted to Islam, leading to speculation it was a jihadist attack.

But the investigation had “further weakened” the jihadist hypothesis, Omholt said, adding that it was unclear whether or not he had really converted to Islam.

READ ALSO: Norwegian police end emergency carrying of arms