Witnesses to the bow and arrow attack that left five dead in southeastern Norway recounted the moments of horror.
Kongsberg, a mountainous and often tedious city, found itself at the center of a tragedy on Wednesday (13) when, for more than half an hour, a man armed with a bow roamed its streets, lined with wooden houses, and fired lethal arrows at random.
The man, who killed five people and injured three others, was arrested.
He was identified as Espen Andersen Bråthen, a 37-year-old Dane from the city of 25,000 who police said was suspected of radicalization. Despite the information, the motivation for the crime has yet to be determined.
The attack appears to be “a terrorist act,” security services said today.
Thomas Nilsen was at home when he heard the screams and began to think of scenes of conflict.
The tragedy happened in several points of the city, including a supermarket, in front of which the police established a security perimeter. In other areas, police presence was minimal.
The fatal victims are four women and one man, aged between 50 and 70, but the police have yet to release their identities. In front of the local church, candles were lit in honor.
“I heard children’s screams, barking and the noise of a helicopter over my house,” said Terje Kristiansen, another witness. “I didn’t sleep much tonight,” he added.
Today, he needed to shop and went to an establishment on the other side of town. “I kept looking over my shoulder a little bit,” he admitted.
The local supermarket was the area where the Dane injured someone, an off-duty police officer. According to authorities, the agent is out of harm’s way.
Knut Olav, 50 years old, was intending to smoke a cigarette on the doorstep of his house when he watched a scene hitherto unimaginable.
“I saw one of my friends hiding behind a car and suddenly I heard something like a ‘click’. I used to be an archer and I recognized the noise of the bow and the impact of an arrow against the sidewalk,” he said.
“Then I saw a man taking a child out of the car and running to my house,” he added.
As in a movie, before being arrested, the perpetrator launched arrows in the direction of the police, who responded with warning shots. Interrogated overnight, the man admitted to the crimes.
The accused will undergo psychiatric examinations and, tomorrow, will appear at a hearing with a judge who must determine provisional detention.
Svein Westad was preparing dinner when he heard the commotion, screams and a gunshot, certainly from the police. I had the window open.
“I continued cooking. Not even thinking about leaving,” he said.
After the noise of the attack, residents heard the sirens of ambulances and police vehicles.
Westad knew one of the victims.
“I’m not the type of person who picks up the phone to take pictures in these situations,” he declared. “I called the police and was told to stay home. All the more reason not to leave.”