Custody hearing for Norway bow-and-arrow suspect
KONGSBERG (AP) — Friday’s custody hearing will be held for the suspect in a deadly bow-andarrow attack in Norway that left five people dead and three others injured. Because he has admitted to the killings, he will not appear in court and will be held in custody.
Espen Andersen Braathen, a 37-year-old Danish citizen was arrested Wednesday night, 30 minutes after he began his deadly rampage targeting random people. The attack was described by police as an act terrorist.
On a central square in Kongsberg, a town of 26,000 people surrounded by mountains and woods some 66 kilometers (41 miles) southwest of Oslo, people were laying flowers and lighting candles Friday.
“This is a small community, so almost everyone knows each other. It s a very strange experience for us,” said Ingeborg Spangelo who brought her students along to the memorial. “It s almost surreal or unreal.”
Andersen Braathen was handled over to medical authorities, Norwegian news media reported Friday, saying he will be observed and assessed by two experts who will try to clarify whether he was sane at the time of the attack. If they conclude that he is not insane, he can’t be punished but could be sentenced to mandatory mental health care. Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen, Regional prosecutor, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK the decision to move him was based on his “health situation”. She did not elaborate.
Andersen Braathen used an arrow and bow to randomly attack people in a Kongsberg supermarket.
Police said that four women and one man aged 50 to 70 died and three others were injured.
Police believe that he acted alone. Norway’s domestic security agency PST stated that the attack “appears as if it were an act of terror”, but did not elaborate. The PST was informed that Andersen Braathen was a known suspect, but again it declined to provide any further details.
Police described the suspect as a Muslim convert, and stated that there were “earlier worries about the man having been radicalized.” However, authorities didn’t elaborate on why he was flagged before or what they did to respond.
According to Norwegian media, Andersen Braathen was convicted of burglary and drug possession. A restraining order was issued last year for him to keep away from his parents for six month after threatening to murder one.
Norway’s new prime minister Jonas Gahr Stoere and Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl were both expected to arrive in Kongsberg later Friday.
Olsen reported from Copenhagen, Denmark.