The Norwegian police returned, Monday, October 18, on the course of the attack in which five people were killed, Wednesday. The victims were killed with knives, and not by arrows fired from a bow, as was initially announced.
” At a certain time, [le suspect] gets rid of or loses his bow and arrows “, Inspector Per Thomas Omholt said, recounting the attack at a press conference. “In Hyttegata, he kills five people with knives both in private places and in public space”, he continued. The police, who had until then declared that the suspect, Espen Andersen Brathen, was armed with a bow and arrows as well as two other weapons, did not want to specify the nature of these bladed weapons for the needs of the ‘investigation.
“Everything indicates that these victims were killed at random”, also said Per Thomas Omholt. Police said more than a dozen people were also targeted by archery at the start of the attack, but none were fatally injured.
Psychiatric assessment of the suspect in progress
Suspected of Islamist radicalization, Espen Andersen Brathen, a 37-year-old Dane, admitted that he had killed five people and injured three others on Wednesday in Kongsberg, a town in south-eastern Norway. “As for the motive, the disease remains the main hypothesis. And with regard to conversion to Islam, this hypothesis is weakened ”, added Per Thomas Omholt. Placed in pre-trial detention in a medical institution, the suspect, who has already explained himself at length and probably acted alone, is no longer able to be heard at present. A psychiatric assessment is underway to determine if he can be held criminally responsible for his act.
Criticized for having taken more than half an hour to arrest Brathen after receiving the first alerts, the police initially seemed to favor the trail of the terrorist act before focusing on that of madness. Established for years in Kongsberg, a small town of about 25,000 inhabitants, 80 kilometers southwest of Oslo, Espen Andersen Brathen has, according to the authorities, a medical history, the nature of which is unknown at this stage. The suspect was known to the Norwegian security services, PST, responsible in particular for anti-terrorism.
Police reported “Fears linked to radicalization” which dated back to 2020 and before, which, she assured, had given rise to a follow-up. According to the public broadcaster NRK, a first alert was received in 2015, and the PST issued one in 2018 on the possibility that the suspect committed “A small-scale attack”. This information raised questions about the measures put in place by the authorities to prevent a passage to the act.