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COPENHAGEN, Denmark – A Dane suspected of a bow and arrow attack on a small Norwegian town that left five dead and two injured is a Muslim convert who had previously been reported as radicalized, police said Thursday .

The man is suspected of shooting people in several locations in the city of Kongsberg on Wednesday evening. Several of the victims were in a supermarket, police said.

“Previously there had been concerns about the radicalization of the man,” Police Chief Ole B. Saeverud told a press conference. He added that there were “complicated assessments related to the motive, and it will be time before this is clarified.”

Saeverud added that the latest worrying report was from last year.

The victims were four women and a man between the ages of 50 and 70, Saeverud said.

Police were alerted at 6:12 p.m. on Wednesday by a man shooting arrows in Kongsberg, some 66 kilometers (41 miles) southwest of Oslo. Officers contacted the suspect, but he escaped and was not arrested until 6:47 p.m., Saeverud said.

Authorities believe the man only started killing people when police arrived at the scene.

“From what we now know, it is reasonably clear that some, probably everyone, were killed after police came into contact with the assailant,” Saeverud said.

Speaking calmly and clearly after his arrest, the suspect told police: “That’s what I did,” said Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen, the police lawyer leading the investigation.

“He spoke calmly and clearly described what he had done. He admitted to killing all five people, ”she told The Associated Press.

The outburst occurred in full view of dozens of witnesses in this small town, now in shock, according to onlookers. Police have already spoken to between 20 and 30 witnesses who saw the assailant injure and kill his victims, according to Svane Mathiassen.

“There are people who saw him in the city. Before the killings. That’s when he hurt people, ”said Svane Mathiassen.

Witness Erik Benum, who lives on the same road as the supermarket where one of the crime scenes was located, told the AP he saw fleeing store workers take refuge under the doors.

“I saw them hiding in a corner. Then I went to see what was going on and saw the police come in with a shield and guns. It was a very strange sight.

The next morning the whole town was eerily quiet, he said. “People are sad and shocked. “

The bow and arrows were part of the killer’s arsenal. Police have yet to confirm what other weapons he used. Weapons experts and other technical officers are being recruited to help with the investigation.

The two hospitalized victims are in intensive care. Among them, a policeman on leave who was inside the store. Their condition was not immediately known.

The suspect is being held on preliminary charges, which is a step short of formal charges. The police believe he acted alone.

“It goes without saying that this is a very serious and widespread situation, and it naturally affects Kongsberg and those who live here,” police spokesman Oeyvind Aas said earlier.

Norwegian media reported that the suspect was convicted earlier of burglary and drug possession, and last year a local court granted a restraining order ordering him to stay away from his parents for a period of six months after having threatened to kill one of them. Tabloid VG said it was not clear if it was being extended.

Newly appointed Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere called the attack “horrific”.

“It’s unreal. But the reality is that five people have been killed, many are injured and many are in shock, ”Gahr Stoere told Norwegian television station NRK.

In a statement to the mayor of Kongsberg, King Harald V of Norway said that people have “experienced that their safe local environment has suddenly become a dangerous place. It shakes us all up when horrible things happen near us, when we least expect it, in the middle of everyday life on the street.

The main church in Kongsberg, a small town of about 26,000 inhabitants, was open to anyone in need of assistance.

“I don’t think anyone expects these kinds of experiences. But no one could imagine that this could happen here in our small town, ”Father Reidar Aasboe told the AP.


Lewis reported from London.


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