Police in Norway have identified a suspect as a Muslim convert.
Officials stated Thursday that a Danish man accused of killing five people in Norway with a bow and arrow had converted to Islam and was previously known to police due to concerns that he had radicalized.
In Norway’s bloodiest attack in a decade, five people were killed — four women and one man — aged 50 to 70 — and two others were injured on Wednesday in the town of Kongsberg.
On Thursday, Norwegian police official Ole Bredrup Saeverud told reporters, “We’re talking about a conversion to Islam,” adding, “There were suspicions relating to radicalisation previously.”
During questioning, the 37-year-old suspect confessed, according to Saeverud.
“Among other things, we’re looking into whether this was a terrorist act,” he continued.
Saeverud stated that reports linking him to radicalization had surfaced earlier this year, and that police had followed them at the time. “We haven’t had any reports about him in 2021, but we have had reports about him earlier,” he said.
“We’re pretty sure he did it on his own.”
Murder is uncommon in Norway.
It was the country’s bloodiest attack since far-right fanatic Anders Behring Breivik massacred 77 people in 2011. Since then, another far-right incident has occurred in Norway, this time with a self-described neo-Nazi who opened fire on a mosque.
Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen expressed her “deep regret” after learning of the “awful attack” in the south-eastern Norwegian town of Kongsberg on Wednesday.
“My heartfelt condolences and thoughts are with the victims and their families,” she stated.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his astonishment and sadness over the dreadful news from Norway on Twitter.
According to his lawyer, the suspect was scheduled to appear before a judge for a custody hearing on Thursday or Friday.
“He’s explaining everything in full, and he’s speaking and working with the police,” Fredrik Neumann, the lawyer, told reporters earlier.
The victims have not yet been identified, although one of the injured was an off-duty police officer who was in a store, which was one of the targets of the attack.
The Norwegian media also questioned why it took police more than a half-hour to apprehend the perpetrator after the initial reports of the incident.
At 6:13 p.m. (1613 p.m. GMT), police were notified of the attack, and the suspect was apprehended at 6:47 p.m.
A witness who only wanted to be identified as Hansine told TV2 that she heard a commotion, then saw a woman fleeing and “a man standing on the corner with arrows in a quiver on his shoulder.” The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.