KONGSBERG, Norway — The man accused of killing five people and wounding two others with a bow and arrow in the small Scandinavian town of Kongsberg, Norway, has confessed to the rampage, his defense lawyer said in an interview Friday.
Espen Anderson Brathen, 37, a Danish citizen and local convert to Islam, “admits to committing the acts he is charged with,” said his lawyer, Fredrick Neumann, adding that his client was also undergoing a mental health evaluation “by doctors and health personnel.”
Brathen, who has been charged with murder, has not yet pleaded in the case, despite his admission of guilt. After a court hearing Friday, his detention was extended as investigators continue to assemble their case, following a horrifying killing spree this week that spread fear in this town of 27,000 people and shocked the entire country.
Brathen was arrested Wednesday evening after he entered a Coop Extra supermarket in Kongsberg and began firing arrows from a hunting bow at shoppers, authorities say. He then stormed through the streets, at one point eluding police and firing arrows in multiple directions, leaving a total of five people dead and two others wounded.
Authorities have said that the attack had the hallmarks of “an act of terror,” but they have not yet offered a motive for the attack. They are also examining past incidents in which Brathen exhibited violent tendencies.
Last year, the suspect was given a six-month restraining order at the request of his parents. According to court records, his parents called the police after Brathen refused to leave their house, threatened to kill his father and left a Colt revolver on their sofa. Brathen was previously convicted of theft and drug possession.
“We are all shocked by what happened,” Kongsberg’s mayor, Anne Sand, said in a Friday news conference. “It is a tragic event, and we as a society will have to carry it with us for many years.”
Norway’s new prime minister, Jonas Gahr Store, who took up his post Thursday, is expected to visit the town soon.
In the town center Friday morning, residents milled around a memorial of candles and flowers commemorating the victims. One woman, 75, who declined to be identified, described the killings as a tragedy and questioned whether Brathen had fallen through the cracks of the local mental health system.