Norway deadly bow-and-arrow attacker is a Muslim convert flagged as radical

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A Danish man who is in custody in Norway suspected of a bow-and-arrow attack on a small town that killed five people and wounded two others is a Muslim convert who had previously been flagged as having being radicalized, police said Thursday.

“There earlier had been worries of the man having been radicalized,” police chief Ole B. Saeverud told a news conference.

“We haven’t had any reports about him in 2021, but earlier,” he added. “We are investigating, among other things, whether this was a terrorist attack.”

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

The 37-year-old Dane is suspected of having shot at people in a number of locations in the town of Kongsberg on Wednesday evening. Several of the victims were in a supermarket, police said.

Norwegian news agency NTB quoted police as saying the suspect also used other weapons.

There was “a confrontation” between officers and the assailant in connection with the arrest, police said but gave no details.

Police walk at the scene after an attack in Kongsberg, Norway, October 13, 2021. (Hakon Mosvold Larsen/NTB Scanpix via AP)

Both the hospitalized victims are in intensive care. They include an off-duty police officer who was inside the supermarket. Their condition was not immediately known.

Police said officers responding to the incident were also shot at with arrows.

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

“We have no information indicating anything else, but we are continuing investigations to be completely sure,” Saeverud said.

Police were alerted to the attack around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday and arrested the suspect about 30 minutes later.

Police spokesman Oeyvind Aas said that “we will return to a more detailed description of the course of events when we have a better overview of what happened.”

“It goes without saying that this is a very serious and extensive situation, and it naturally affects Kongsberg and those who live here,” he said.

Prime Minister-designate Jonas Gahr Stoere, who is expected to take office later Thursday, called the attack “horrific.”

“This is unreal. But the reality is that five people have been killed, many are injured and many are in shock,” Gahr Stoere told Norwegian broadcaster NRK on Thursday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote on Twitter that he was “shocked and saddened by the tragic news coming from Norway.”

Town officials said the main church was open to anyone in need of support.

Kongsberg, a small town of some 26,000 inhabitants, is about 66 kilometers (41 miles) southwest of Oslo.

The attack was the deadliest in the country since far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in 2011.

Since then, Norway has seen one other far-right attack, carried out by a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi who opened fire into a mosque.