Custody hearing for Norwegian suspect with bow and arrow
KONGSBERG, Norway (AP) – The suspect in a bow and arrow attack that left five dead and three injured in a peaceful Norwegian town this week is the subject of a police custody hearing on Friday. He will not appear in court because he confessed to the murders and agreed to be detained.
Espen Andersen Braathen, a 37-year-old Danish citizen, was arrested on Wednesday evening, 30 minutes after he began his murderous rampage targeting random people. Police called the attack an act of terror.
In a central plaza 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 on Friday.
“It’s a small community, so almost everyone knows each other, so it’s a very strange and very sad experience for us,” said teacher Ingeborg Spangelo, who took her students to the impromptu memorial. “It’s almost surreal or unreal.”
Andersen Braathen has been handed over to medical authorities, Norwegian media reported on Friday, saying he will be observed and evaluated by two experts who will attempt to clarify whether he was sane at the time of the attack. If they come to the conclusion that he was not sane, he cannot be punished for the acts, but may be sentenced to mandatory mental health care.
Regional prosecutor Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen told Norwegian television station NRK that the decision to move was “an assessment of his state of health. She didn’t elaborate.
Andersen Braathen used a bow and arrow and possibly other weapons to randomly target people in a supermarket and other places in Kongsberg, where he lived.
Four women and a man aged 50 to 70 were killed and three others were injured, police said.
Police said they believed he acted alone. Norwegian Internal Security Service PST said the attack “appears to be an act of terror”, but did not elaborate. He added that Andersen Braathen was known to the PST, but, again, declined to elaborate.
The suspect was described by police as a converted Muslim and said “there had previously been concerns about the radicalization of the man”, but authorities did not say or explain why he was reported. before or what the authorities had done in response.
According to Norwegian media, Andersen Braathen was convicted of burglary and drug possession, and last year a court granted him an order not to approach his parents for six months after threatening to kill one of them.
New Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere and Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl were due in Kongsberg later on Friday.
Olsen reported from Copenhagen, Denmark.
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