NORWEGIAN cops have charged a bow and arrow attacker who last night ruthlessly slaughtered four women and one man in a deadly terror attack.
Muslim covert Espen Brathen, 37, unleashed a 35 minute killing spree in the town of Kongsberg as cops desperately hunted him down following reports he was randomly spraying arrows at shoppers.
The horrific attack unfolded in the small town of Kongsberg, home to about 25,000 people 50 miles west of Oslo after about 6.30pm local time.
As well as the five killed, two were wounded.
Brathen, a Danish national who lives in the Kongsberg area, has been held in custody, has admitted being the killer. He was believed to have been acting alone in the terror attack.
I saw people flee for their lives. One was a woman holding a child in her hand
Today Norway’s domestic security agency, known by its acronym PST, said the incident appeaed to have been an act of terrorism.
It said in a statement: “The investigation will clarify in more detail what the incidents were motivated by.”
Police said the Danish man suspected of the attack is a Muslim convert who was previously flagged as having been radicalized.
Disturbing details emerged about the background of the killer.
He was born and always lived in Norway, but has Danish citizenship and has been in trouble with police several times, the last time in May 2020.
On May 29, he entered his mum and dad’s house and ordered them all to leave, threatening to kill one of them.
After he left, his shocked relatives found a Colt revolver pistol on the sofa.
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A court then issued a restraining order barring him from seeing his parents, which he breached months later.
Neighbours of the alleged killer also told Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newspaper, they saw him training with weapons in his garden.
Described as doing in martial arts in a “brutal fighting style” with “a club or baton”, he caught the attention of the police who were said to have been pictured in his garden with helmets on one occasion.
I am a messenger and I come with a warning… It is time… Bear witness that I am a Muslim
Other ex-neighbours, Silje Limstrand, 22, and Gudoon Hersi, 21, told the newspaper they were terrified of Bråthen, who would make racist comments and act in a threatening and bizarre way —often pacing up and down the street.
The Muslim convert also made a chilling Facebook video and was also on a terror watchlist.
The shaven-headed suspect — said to have psychiatric problems — reads in English from a note saying: “Hello. I am a messenger and I come with a warning.
“Is this really what you want ?… It is time. Bear witness that I am a Muslim.”
Attacks on random people in public places are a recurring modus operandi among extremist Islamists carrying out terror in the West.
Police chief Ole B. Saeverud told a news conference today: “Witnesses saw lifeless people, heard intense howls and screams and saw people running for their lives in the streets.”
TIMELINE OF TERROR
The atrocity unfolded after 6.12pm when police were alerted to a man shooting arrows at people.
Five minutes later the police control room received reports that several people were hit by arrows.
At 6.18pm a first police patrol arrives outside Coop Extra supermarket inside which the shooter was targeting shoppers and staff.
Moments before two students calling at the Coop store for groceries told of their shock after finding the security guard at the door with an arrow in his back.
The guard is thought to be one of the two survivors of the horror and believed to have cheated death because the arrow head missed vital organs by millimetres.
The students named only as James, 21, and David, 20, said they never encountered the archer but saw his arrows scattered outside the store.
Witnesses saw lifeless people, heard intense howls and screams and saw people running for their lives in the streets
Police chief Ole B. Saeverud
Meanwhile, Thomas Nilsen, who lives next door to the Coop Extra store where the rampage began, said: “I heard a woman screaming, like screaming intensely for her life and a man shouting.
“A woman said she had seen another woman on the street, covered in blood with a huge wound in her thigh.
“Then a couple of minutes later someone screamed again, but this time it was different.
“At first, I thought it was the quarrel that escalated, but I have never heard such a scream before.
“It was a scream of death, a scream that cut into the soul. I will never forget that.”
Three police patrols rushed to the scene but were not armed and needed to seek permission to use guns carried in their vehicles before confronting the attacker.
Chiefs confirmed he “probably” launched into his deadly spree after cops arrived — and escaped after sending them fleeing with a volley of arrows without them returning fire.
At 6.28pm with officers scouring the streets, the public was warned on Twitter to stay indoors.
Meanwhile, the killer was believed to have picked out people on the streets.
Some reports say people were found dead in their homes, although it is unclear if they were targeted outside and staggered inside.
At 6.47pm he surrendered himself by the entrance to a bridge after cops fired warning shots in his direction.
Witnesses spoke of finding a seriously injured woman with an arrow in her body calling out for help in a pool of blood near a traffic junction.
One told TV 2: “There were crazy screams of women. I’ve never heard anything like it. It was a death cry.”
Harrowing images taken in the street show arrows stuck inside a wall after the suspect allegedly missed his target.
Norway’s royal family expressed its sympathies.
“We’re horrified by the tragic events at Kongsberg,” King Harald said in a letter addressed to the town’s mayor.
“The rest of the nation stands with you,” the 84-year-old monarch wrote.
Acting Prime Minister Erna Solberg reassured the nation “the police are now in control” in a press conference on the “gruesome” attack.
The attack happened on the eve of a new government taking power.
Ms Solberg said the mass murder would not affect the handover and the new prime minister would be sworn in as planned.
Last night’s shooting was the deadliest attack in Norway in a decade after far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in 2011.
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