At least four people have been killed and others injured in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg by a man armed with a bow and arrow, local media have reported.
Øyvind Aas, the police chief in the town, about 70km southwest of the capital, Oslo, told a press conference on Tuesday night that the attacker had been arrested and “according to our information, is the only person implicated”.
Aas declined to confirm the number of casualties or comment on press reports that a police officer had been shot in the back. He said the attacks happened over “a large area” of the town and multiple crime scenes were involved. “Several people have been injured and several are dead,” he said.
The attacker’s motive was not yet clear, Aas said, but police were not ruling out terrorism. “One person has performed these actions alone,” he said. “It is natural to consider whether it is an act of terrorism. But the man has not been questioned and it is too early to come to any conclusion.”
The suspect had been taken to a police station in the nearby town of Drammen and no one else was being sought. Norway’s minister of justice, Monica Maeland, was monitoring the situation.
The Norwegian public broadcaster, NRK, said police in Kongsberg, a municipality of about 28,000 people, received reports at about 6.15pm local time that a man was moving around the town centre firing a bow and arrow.
A “large number” of police, as well as helicopters, dogs and armed response teams secured the area soon afterwards, Aas said, and the suspevct was arrested about 20 minutes later following a brief confrontation. The shooting appears to have started in or near a Coop store in the city centre, he said, but details “are still confused”.
A Coop spokesperson, Harald Kristiansen, told NRK there had been “a serious incident in our store” but none of its employees had been injured. “We are providing assistance to our colleagues and helping police with their investigation,” he said.
“A lot of resources were sent from several places, including Oslo police district, the bomb squad, national police and emergency response teams,” Aas told journalists. “They are securing the various crime scenes. We have many witnesses to interview.”
Kari Anne Sand, Kongsberg’s mayor, told VG newspaper the attack was “a tragedy for all those involved. I have no words.” Sand said a crisis team had been installed in a hotel to help those affected. “We are doing all we can,” she added.
Shortly after of the attack Norway’s national police directorate said it had 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.