This strange story of a man in Norway murdering people with a bow and arrow broke yesterday but at the time it wasn’t clear if the person responsible was just a random crazy person or was motivated by some particular ideology. Now it’s looking more like the latter. It appears the attacker is a convert to Islam who police had received reports about in the past aka a known wolf.
After reports streamed in of a man roaming the town center shooting at people with a bow and arrow, law enforcement officers in Kongsberg, southwest of Oslo, arrested a 37-year-old man whom authorities later identified as Espen Andersen Brathen. An initial court proceeding was set to take place Friday after police, who said the man appeared to be acting alone, charged him on Thursday.
“The incidents in Kongsberg currently appear to be a terrorist act, but the investigation … will clarify in more detail,” said the police security service, known as PST. Its statement added that the threat level in Norway had not changed and remained moderate.
Regional police chief Ole B. Saeverud told reporters Thursday that the suspect was a Muslim convert and that police had received reports in the past flagging that he may have been radicalized, although none came this year. Saeverud did not elaborate on those concerns.
Brathen is Danish but has lived in Norway for a long time. After the attack, various papers turned up evidence of his past involvement with the police. He has a burglary conviction from 2012 and one person, described as an acquaintance, told the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation he “had long suffered serious mental health problems.” But other reports paint a more disturbing picture of his recent activity.
In December 2017, a concerned friend also flagged up videos that Brathen had put online, reported the Aftenposten newspaper.
Looking into the camera, he’s said to have confirmed he was a Muslim and described himself as a “messenger” with a “warning”, adding that “the time has come”.
The friend said Brathen was a “ticking time bomb” who changed in his late teens and become more of a loner who pushed people away…
Neighbours also told Aftenposten they had seen Brathen doing “brutal” martial arts practice in his garden and training with weapons described as “a club or baton”.
Four women and one man were killed in the attack. After his arrest he was questioned for three hours and some reports say he confessed to the crime. This clip from the BBC includes some eyewitness accounts: