A judge is set to detain 37-year-old Espen Anderson Breton, who has been identified as the mastermind of a deadly archery attack in Norway.
Emotions were high in the quiet city of Kansberg in the southeast of Scandinavia, where residents gathered Thursday evening to pray with candles.
“We are a small community, we have to be with each other,” 29-year-old teacher Christine Johansson told AFP.
The 37-year-old Danish citizen, who was described by police as having converted to Islam and reported extremism, admitted that he had carried out the attack, including a bow and arrow, before being arrested.
“We want to keep him in custody for at least four weeks,” Attorney General Iron Swan Mathiason told AFP.
The Kansberg court is due to rule on Friday morning, but without the presentation of the alleged assailant: according to police, Breton did not object to his imprisonment, allowing for a simplified procedure. “I do not think he will appear,” Ms. Swan Mathiason said.
Particularly in the light of operational policy, the suspect was blindly attacked and warned of possible exacerbation, meaning that the path of Islamic terrorism seems to have been privileged.
“There is no doubt that this law appears to be an act of terrorism but it is important now that the investigation moves forward and that the motive of the suspect is clarified,” PST leader Hans Schwartzold told a news conference Thursday.
Authorities also did not rule out the possibility of mental disorders.
“He’s a person who has been going back and forth through the health system for a while,” Schwarzowalt said.
According to Ms Swan Mathiasen, Breten began a psychiatric assessment on Thursday, but the findings are expected to take several months.
– “Never smile” –
The suspect is “known” to the PST, which is primarily responsible for counter-terrorism in Norway, but some details have been provided in this regard.
“Previously there were fears related to intensification,” said police officer Ole Frederub Severut. Those fears were 2020 and earlier, and led to police pursuit, he said.
According to Norwegian media reports, Breten has been the target of two court rulings in the past: last year he threatened to kill one of two close family members and in 2012 was banned from stealing and buying hashish.
A video about him from 2017 was also discovered by several media outlets, where he has been doing the profession of faith in a threatening tone. “I am an ambassador. I came with a warning: + Do you really want this?
Acting alone, according to police, Pradhan killed four women between the ages of 50 and 70 and several men in various parts of Kongberg, a small town of about 25,000 people, about 80 kilometers west of Oslo.
Anonymous, a neighbor described him as a large structure and a friendly man with a haircut. “A smile, no expression on his face,” he told AFP, adding that he had seen him “always alone”.
Several planned Islamic attacks in Norway have been thwarted in the past.
But the country has been plagued by two far-right attacks over the past ten years, including Anders Behring Breivik (77 killed) on July 22, 2011.