STOCKHOLM – A man armed with a bow fired arrows at shoppers in a small Norwegian town Wednesday, killing five people before he was arrested, authorities said.
The police chief in the community of Kongsberg, near the capital of Oslo, said there was “a confrontation” between officers and the assailant, but he did not elaborate. Two other people were wounded and hospitalized in intensive care, including an officer who was off duty and inside the shop where the attack took place, police said.
“The man who carried out the act has been arrested by the police, and there is no active search for more people. Based on the information we have, there is one person behind this,” Police Chief Oeyving Aas said.
Acting Prime Minister Erna Solberg described the attack as “gruesome” and said it was too early to speculate on a motive. The prime minister-designate, Jonas Gahr Stoere, who is expected to take office Thursday, called the assault “a cruel and brutal act” in comments to Norwegian news agency NTB.
Police were alerted to the attack around 6:15 p.m. and arrested the suspect about 30 minutes later. The community of some 26,000 inhabitants is about 66 kilometers (41 miles) southwest of Oslo.
According to police, the suspect walked around downtown Kongsberg shooting arrows. Aas declined to comment on reports that the man used a crossbow, saying only there were “several crime scenes.”
The man has not been questioned yet, Aas said.
Norway’s domestic security agency PST was informed of the assault.
Town officials invited people who were affected by the attack and their relatives to gather for support at a local hotel.
Mass killings are rare in Norway. The country's worst peacetime slaughter was on July 22, 2011, when right-wing extremist Anders Breivik set off a bomb in the capital of Oslo, killing eight people. Then he headed to tiny Utoya Island, where he stalked the mostly teen members of the Labor Party’s youth wing and killed another 69 victims.
Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum under Norwegian law, but his term can be extended as long as he’s considered a danger to society.