Muslim Convert Behind Oslo Bow-and-Arrow Shooting Spree Made Threats Before Attack
Danish citizen and Muslim convert, Espen Andersen Bråthen, has been known to the Norwegian police since 2017 and has been described by a close friend as a “ticking bomb”. He had several convictions, including a restraining order for death threats against family members.
The 37-year-old archer who shot five people dead in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg has been identified as Espen Andersen Bråthen.
Bråthen had converted to Islam and, according to the police, had been radicalised, national broadcaster NRK reported
People from his close circle had already alerted law enforcement about him in 2017. A close friend tipped off the police because of the fear that “lives might be lost” and described him as a “ticking bomb”, NRK reported
“There have been radicalisation concerns around the man,” police chief Ole Bredrup Sæverud admitted at a press conference.
The man was also known to the Norwegian Police Security Service PST, which refused to issue any further comment because the investigation is ongoing.
However, according to the PST, although the case bears all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack, the exact motive has yet to be established.
“We don't know the motives behind the act, and therefore it must be investigated further,” a PST spokesman said.
PST section leader Arne Christian Haugstøyl said that the Kongsberg attack was carried out “in a typical Islamist fashion”. Nevertheless, the PST assessed that the attack doesn't necessarily lead to a change in the overall threat faced by Norway.
In a now-deleted Youtube video, Bråthen reportedly issued a number of threats.
“I'm a messenger. I hereby give you a warning. This is really what you want. And for anyone who wants to deal with themselves, the time has come. Bear witness that I am a Muslim,” Bråthen said in the video, as quoted by the newspaper Verdens Gang.
According to NRK, the accused has several previous convictions. Last year, Bråthen was sentenced to a six-month restraining order against two close family members after he threatened to kill one of them.
Verdens Gang described Bråthen as having “major mental challenges throughout his adult life”. He has been out of work and has lived alone in an apartment in Kongsberg for a number of years. His circle of friends has been very limited.
The victims of Bråthen's bow-and-arrow shooting spree were four women and a man, all aged between 50 and 70. Two more people were injured, including a police officer, but their condition is not life-threatening.
14 October 2021, 13:40 GMT
According to police lawyer, Ann Irén Svane Mathiassen, the perpetrator entered homes
to commit murder.
A total of 22 police patrols took part in the arrest, which also involved helicopters.