What happened in Kongsberg?
Police in Kongsberg, a town of around 28,000 residents located 80 kilometres to the south west of Oslo, received initial reports about an attacker targeting members of the public with a bow and arrow at 6.15pm on Wednesday evening.
Law enforcement arrived and arrested the suspect just over 30 minutes later at 6.47pm, after what police called a “confrontation”.
They described what happened between those times as “confusing”.
In a statement Norwegian police said: “It was at 18.13 that the police received several messages from people in Kongsberg centre that a person was moving around with a weapon, which was said to have been a bow and arrow.
“The time from when the police received the message and arrived and until he was arrested was confusing. The man was arrested at 18.47, so it took some time from when the first patrol was on site until he was arrested.”
Television footage showed ambulances and armed police in the area. A helicopter and bomb disposal team were also sent to the scene. Broadcaster TV2 reported that the man also had a knife or other weapons.
The website of public broadcaster NRK published an image sent by a witness of a black arrow sticking out of a wall.
The attacks appeared to have taken place at various locations around the centre of the town, including a Coop Extra supermarket.
A woman who witnessed some of the attack, Hansine, told TV2 she had heard a disturbance, then saw a woman taking cover and “a man standing on the corner with arrows in a quiver on his shoulder and a bow in his hand”.
“Afterwards, I saw people running for their lives. One of them was a woman holding a child by the hand,” she said.
Who were the victims?
Little information has been given so far about the victims other than that five were killed and two were left injured. Four women and one man were killed, police have confirmed. All were aged between 50 to 70 the police said a press conference at 10:00am on Thursday.
One of those injured was an off-duty police officer who happened to be at the scene.
The two injured are not believed to be in a life threatening condition.
What do we know about the suspect?
A 37-year-old Danish national has been charged over the killing, Norwegian police confirmed. Police said Thursday that they had been in contact with the suspect over fears of radicalisation. Police also confirmed that the attacker had converted to Islam.
Norwegian Police released a statement early on Thursday confirming the arrest and charge of the Danish citizen living in Kongsberg, countering earlier television reports alleging the attacker was a Norwegian man.
“A 37-year-old man has been arrested and charged after five people were killed and two injured in Kongsberg centre on Wednesday night,” said the police statement.
“The man is a Danish citizen, but lives in Kongsberg. He was taken into police custody in Drammen on Wednesday night.”
“We decided to confirm this information because many rumours were circulating on social networks about the perpetrator of the attack, some [implicating] people who have no connection with these serious acts,” said a police statement.
Police lawyer Ann Irén Svane Mathiassen confirmed on Thursday morning that the 37-year-old Danish citizen “admits the circumstances” of the attack.
“He admits the circumstances. That it is him that undertook the actions he is charged with,” Mathiassen told Norwegian broadcaster TV2. “But the extent to which he will admit his guilt, we must await,” she added.
Was it an act of terrorism?
Initially Norwegian police stressed that they had no idea about the motive for the killings.
“The arrested man has not been interviewed and it is too early to say anything about his motives,” he said, adding that “all possibilities were open”.
The national police directorate late on Wednesday issued a temporary order for all police in Norway to carry weapons.
But there were “so far no concrete indications that there is a change to the terror threat level in the country,” a police statement said.
Norway’s intelligence service PST had been alerted, spokesman Martin Bernsen told AFP.
“It is all conjecture at the moment,” he said when asked about the possibility of a terrorist motive.
Officers later confirmed they were keeping an open mind and that a terrorism motive could not be ruled out.
“Given how events unfolded, it is natural to assess whether this is a terrorist attack,” local police official Oyvind Aas told a news conference.
What’s the reaction from Norway’s leaders?
Outgoing PM Erna Solberg described the attack as “horrifying” and said the country has been “shaken”.
“The reports that come from Kongsberg tonight are horrible. It is a very tragic situation that affects the Kongsberg community,” Solberg said at a press conference at 10:45pm on Wednesday.
“These events have shaken us,” Solberg added.
Prime minister-elect Jonas Gahr Støre described the killing of five people in Kongsberg on Wednesday night as “cruel and brutal”.