‘Bear witness that I am a Muslim Messnger’

The photograph, taken in August 2020 by a nervous neighbour, shows Espen Andersen Bråthen outside his Kongsberg home with two officers. It is unclear exactly what they were speaking about, thought the same month he was accused of breaching a restraining order taken out by his father who he had recently threatened to kill.

The picture emerged at the same time as an old YouTube video, which Bråthen uploaded to the site in 2017. In it, he delivers a screed that has been badly translated into English, in which he asks viewers ‘is this what you want?’, calls himself ‘a messenger’ and says: ‘I come with a warning’.

Police have released few other details about Bråthen, but court documents and testimony from neighbours paint a bleak picture: An ‘unstable’ loner with a collection of weapons who rarely left his flat, hadn’t held a job in years, suffered from mental health problems, used drugs, and was estranged from his family.

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KONGSBERG, Norway (AP) — A Danish man suspected of killing five people with a bow and arrow and possibly other weapons while randomly shooting at strangers in a small Norwegian town appears to have committed an act of terrorism, authorities in Norway said Thursday.

The Wednesday night attack at a supermarket and other locations in downtown Kongsberg, a town of about 26,000 residents not far from Norway’s capital, left the country stunned as police released some details, including that officers made contact with the 37-year-old suspect but he initially escaped.

“From what we know now, it is reasonably clear that some, probably everyone, was killed after the police were in contact with the perpetrator,” regional police chief Ole B. Saeverud said Thursday. The victims were four women and one man between the ages of 50 and 70.

The man arrested Wednesday had been on the security agency’s radar. Police described him as a Muslim convert who was previously flagged as having been radicalized.

Svane Mathiassen, the prosecutor, said the bow and arrows were just part of the killer’s arsenal. Police have not said what other weapons were used in the attack.

Dozens of witnesses in Kongsberg saw the gruesome events.

“I saw them hiding in the corner. Then I went to see what was happening, and I saw the police moving in with a shield and rifles. It was a very strange sight,” Benum said.

The following morning, the whole town was eerily quiet, he said. “People are sad and shocked.”

The suspect is being held on preliminary charges, which is a step short of formal charges. He will formally face a custody hearing Friday. Police believe he acted alone.

Norwegian media reported that the suspect previously had been convicted of burglary and possession of drugs, and last year a local court granted a restraining order ordering him to stay away from his parents for a six-month period after he threatened to kill one of them.

Svane Mathiassen, who is leading the investigation, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that the suspect will be assessed by forensic psychiatric experts Thursday.

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