Norwegian police on Saturday opened a “terrorist” investigation after fatal shootings near bars in central Oslo overnight, canceling an LGBT Pride march scheduled for the day. The alleged perpetrator of the shooting which left two dead and 21 injured, including ten seriously, is a 42-year-old Norwegian of Iranian origin known to the internal intelligence services, also in charge of anti-terrorism, according to the Oslo police. .
“He is suspected of homicide, attempted homicide and terrorist act,” said a police official, Christian Hatlo, during a press conference. This last count is motivated by “the number of injured and killed, the number of crime scenes – at least three – and (…) there is good reason to believe that he intended to sow terror,” he added.
According to the police, the vital prognosis of the injured is not or no longer engaged. The shooting occurred around 1 a.m. local time (2300 GMT Friday) outside a pub, Per på hjørnet, where the two deaths were reported, according to local media.
She then continued past an adjoining gay club, the London Pub, right in the center of the Norwegian capital, so packed on that hot summer night. “There are reasons to believe that this is a hate crime,” added Christian Hatlo, referring to the nature of the places targeted, “in particular the London Pub”.
The LGBT Pride march scheduled for Saturday afternoon in Oslo has been cancelled. As a sign of solidarity, rainbow flags were placed near the scene of the attack. Following “clear” police recommendations, “all Oslo Pride-related events are cancelled,” event organizers wrote in a statement.
The police force has been reinforced in the capital to deal with possible other incidents. “It is estimated at this stage that there was only one author” behind the shooting “but nothing can be said with certainty so early” in the investigation, said inspector Tore Soldal, during the conference. Press.
The man was arrested at 1:19 a.m. on Saturday (2319 GMT on Friday), five minutes after the first reports. Civilians assisted in the capture of the suspect as well as with first aid, according to the police who hailed “a heroic contribution”.
The suspect had already had to deal with the police for minor acts such as carrying a knife or a conviction for possession of narcotics. Two weapons were seized at the scene of the attack: an automatic weapon and a handgun which Mr. Hatlo presented as “old”.
A witness interviewed by the Verdens Gang (VG) newspaper spoke of “a scene of war”. “There were plenty of injured people on the ground who had head injuries,” he said. According to an NRK journalist present at the time of the shooting, the shooter arrived with a bag from which he pulled out a weapon with which he fired.
In the early hours of the morning, a bag was still lying on the ground at the scene of the shooting around which specialists from the technical and scientific police were busy. “The shooting outside the London Pub in Oslo tonight is a horrific and deeply shocking attack on innocent people,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said.
“We don’t yet know the reasons for this terrible act but to the homosexuals who now fear and mourn, I want to say that we are all together with you,” he wrote on Facebook.
The shooter “seemed very determined where he was aiming,” a woman who witnessed the scene told VG. Generally peaceful, Norway was the scene of bloody attacks on July 22, 2011.
On that day, right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik had killed 77 people in a bomb attack on the government headquarters in Oslo and a shootout against a gathering of young laborers on the island of Utøya.