A man suspected of killing at least 92 people, most of them teenagers, in an
explosion and shooting rampage in Norway surrendered to police as soon as they
arrived on the island where he’d slaughtered most of his victims, police say.
By then, he’d been firing shots at young campers for 90 minutes,
investigators said during a news conference Saturday. Police arrived on the
island 40 minutes after being called, they said.
A 32-year-old man, who police say dressed up as a police officer before
gunning down at least 85 campers at the youth retreat near Oslo, has admitted to
some things already, such as firing weapons on the island, investigators said.
But is was unclear Saturday whether the suspect had confessed to launching
the bomb attack in downtown Oslo, followed by a shooting massacre at an island
retreat hosted by the country’s ruling party.
As victims’ families gathered in a nearby hotel on Saturday, police continued
to search the waters around the island of Utoya for campers who tried to save
their lives by jumping into the water.
Four people were still missing by early Saturday evening local time, and
police said the toll from both attacks could rise.
Police said they will not identify the victims or reveal their ages until
after they finish work on the island. They are also talking to all survivors.
A search of the man’s home and his Facebook postings turned up suggestions of
right-wing and anti-Muslim political leanings, said police, who didn’t reveal
anything that might have propelled the suspect to mass murder.
“It’s not clear what his anti-Muslim motivation is yet and the police haven’t really
talked about that,” CBC reporter Nahlah Ayed said from the scene outside Oslo on
Saturday. “What we do know from police is that he has been very co-operative and
is very keen to express his point of view.”
The Norwegian-born suspect comes from a well-to-do family, and his Facebook
page suggests he’s a Christian fundamentalist. He owns a farm, where he runs a
business, and once belonged to the right-wing Progress Party, according to
reports. Police said the man doesn’t have a criminal record.
Little else is known yet about the man’s background, including whether he
served in Norway’s armed forces, although all men in the country are liable for
military service after the age of 18.
Government officials reported killed
On Friday, the blast in Oslo came first — a car bomb set off outside a
government building that housed the prime minister’s office. Seven people died,
including some government officials, according to Prime Minister Jens
During the chaos that followed the explosion, word came of the shootings on
The two attacks formed the deadliest day of terror in Western Europe since
the 2004 Madrid train bombings killed 191.
Norwegians were still reeling Saturday, and the streets of Oslo were only
beginning to show life after looking like a ghost town in the hours after the
“It takes a special kind of cruelty to target kids and shoot them down, and
it’s absolutely horrible,” Sigrid Kleiva-Gramstad told CBC News from Oslo as she
explained the shock and grief in the country.
Norway’s King Harald, Queen Sonja and Crown Prince Haakon went to Sundvollen
to meet the families of victims of the youth camp massacre.
Stoltenberg also tried to comfort the families, whose children were at the
annual retreat for political training and debate as well as for sports and more
conventional camp activities.
Suspect may have had help
A Norwegian newspaper says the suspect in the twin attacks bought about six
tonnes of artificial fertilizer about 10 weeks ago. Artificial fertilizer can be
used in homemade bombs, but the supplier in this case says the amount allegedly
purchased by the suspect was normal for farm use.
Initially, police said they believed the assailant acted alone, but the CBC’s
Ayed said they were more cautious on this point Saturday, since it wasn’t clear
how one person could have pulled off both attacks.
“This was a very sophisticated attack, multi-pronged,” she said.
A police official told reporters the suspect did not seem to have any
connections to international organizations. The violence did not seem
“Islamic-terror related,” said the official, who would not allow his name to be
used. “This seems like a madman’s work.”
The toll from the shootings at the youth retreat was initially estimated at
10, but survivors reported seeing many more victims. The number soared to 84
during the night, and an additional 3 deaths were reported later Saturday.
Killer’s police uniform fooled survivor
Survivors told harrowing tales of the shootings. A 15-year-old camper named
Elise said she heard the gunshots but felt safe after seeing a police officer.
Then he started shooting people right before her eyes.
“I saw many dead people,” said Elise, whose father, Vidar Myhre, didn’t want
her to disclose her last name. “He first shot people on the island. Afterward he
started shooting people in the water.”
Elise said she hid behind the same rock that the killer was standing on. “I
could hear his breathing from the top of the rock,” she said. She said it was
impossible to say how many minutes passed while she was waiting for him to stop.
Other witnesses said the gunman also tried to kill people desperately trying
to swim away from the island.
Though police did not release his name, Norwegian national broadcaster NRK
identified him as Anders Behring Breivik and said police searched his Oslo
apartment overnight. NRK and other Norwegian media posted pictures of the blond,
National police Chief Sveinung Sponheim told NRK that the suspected gunman’s
internet postings “suggest that he has some political traits directed toward the
right, and anti-Muslim views, but whether that was a motivation for the actual
act remains to be seen.”
Stoltenbert, who leads the Labour Party but was not in his office when the
explosion happened at government headquarters, told reporters he had spent many
summers on the island of Utoya.
Island was ‘paradise’ for PM
Utoya is “my childhood paradise that yesterday was transformed into hell,” he
said at a news conference in the capital. He called the attacks a national
“Never since the Second World War has our country been hit by a crime on this
scale,” he said.
The country was clearly in mourning, one Norwegian said.
“Norwegians consider Norway a quite peaceful and safe country,” he said.
The island of Utoya is about 500 metres from one shore of Tyrifjorden lake,
an oddly shaped body of water that is 25 kilometres at its longest and 12
kilometres at its widest. About 700 people were on the island at the time of the
With files from The Associated Press