5 killed, 2 injured by man armed with bow and arrows in Norway, police say

A man armed with a bow and arrows killed five people Wednesday near the Norwegian capital of Oslo before he was arrested, authorities said.

Suspect arrested, motive remains unclear, officials say

Police investigate after several people were killed and others injured by a man authorities said used a bow and arrows to carry out attacks in Kongsberg, Norway, on Wednesday. (Hakon Mosvold/NTB/Reuters)

A man armed with a bow fired arrows at shoppers in a small Norwegian town Wednesday, killing five people before he was arrested, authorities said.

The police chief in the town of Kongsberg said there was "a confrontation" between officers and the assailant, but he did not elaborate. Two other people were wounded and hospitalized in intensive care, including an officer who was off duty and inside the shop where the attack took place, police said.

"The man who carried out the act has been arrested by the police, and there is no active search for more people," said police Chief Oeyving Aas. "Based on the information we have, there is one person behind this."

According to police, the suspect walked around downtown Kongsberg shooting arrows. Aas declined to comment on reports that the man used a crossbow, saying only that there were "several crime scenes."

Newspaper VG showed images of an arrow that appeared to be stuck in the wall of a wood-panelled building.

'Cruel and brutal'

Acting prime minister Erna Solberg described the attack as "gruesome" and said it was too early to speculate on the man's motive.

"The reports coming from Kongsberg tonight are horrifying," Solberg told a news conference.

Police Chief Oeyving Aas speaks to the media in Kongsberg. (Terje Pedersen/NTB/via Reuters)

"I understand that many people are afraid, but it's important to emphasize that the police are now in control."

Prime minister-designate Jonas Gahr Stoere, who is expected to take office Thursday, called the assault "a cruel and brutal act" in comments to Norwegian news agency NTB.

Aas told reporters that police were investigating whether weapons apart from the bow and arrows had also been used.

The attacks took place over "a large area" of Kongsberg, a municipality of around 28,000 people in southeastern Norway, police said.

Aas earlier said police would investigate to determine if the attack amounted to an act of terrorism. The suspect has not yet been questioned.

Police were alerted to the attack around 6:30 p.m. local time and arrested the suspect about 20 minutes later. Kongsberg is about 68 kilometres west of Norway's capital, Oslo.

The suspect has been apprehended, according to police. (Hakon Mosvold/NTB/Reuters)

Police ordered to carry firearms

Following the attacks, the police directorate said it had immediately ordered officers nationwide to carry firearms. Norwegian police are normally unarmed, but officers have access to guns and rifles when needed.

"This is an extra precaution. The police have no indication so far that there is a change in the national threat level," the directorate said in a statement.

City officials invited people who were affected by the attack and their relatives to gather for support at a local hotel.

The attack comes more than a decade after right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik set off a bomb in Oslo's government district and then carried out a shooting massacre at the summer camp of the left-wing Labour Party's youth organization on Utoya island.

The violent attack on July 22, 2011, killed 77 people and stunned Norway.

Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum under Norwegian law, but his term can be extended as long as he is considered a danger to society.

The police directorate said it had immediately ordered officers nationwide to carry firearms as a precaution. Norway's officers are usually unarmed. (Hakon Mosvold/NTB/Reuters)

With files from Reuters