The 37 year old Danish citizen is accused of killing four women and a man on Wednesday night in the southern town of Kongsberg.He was arrested and questioned for several hours overnight.

Regional police chief Ole Bredrup Saeverud said officers had last been in touch with the man in 2020.The victims were all aged between 50 and 70, Chief Saeverud told reporters on Thursday morning.

Police had initially confronted the man six minutes after the attack began at 18:12  on Wednesday but he shot arrows at the officers. The man escaped and was not caught until 18:47 – 35 minutes after the attack started.

The police chief said all five victims were most likely killed after he was first confronted by police.Reports of the incident were “horrifying”, said Prime Minister Erna Solberg, hours before she was due to leave office. The attacker is said to have launched the assault inside a Coop Extra supermarket on Kongsberg’s west side. One of those injured was an off-duty police officer who was in the shop at the time.

The officer and another person who was wounded are recovering in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.The attack was Norway’s deadliest since far right extremist Anders Behring Breivik murdered 77 people on the island of Utoya in July 2011.

Ms Sand said everyone had been deeply shaken by “this very tragic situation”, the  town as “a completely ordinary community with completely ordinary people”.The suspect was taken to a police station in the town of Drammen, where his defence lawyer, Fredrik Neumann, said he was questioned for more than three hours and was co-operating with authorities.

The suspect had a Danish mother and Norwegian father, he explained.Police prosecutor Ann Irén Svane Mathiassen told TV2 that the man had lived in Kongsberg for several years.

Norwegian police are not usually armed and after the attack the police directorate ordered all officers nationwide to carry firearms as an extra precaution.

The attack came on the final day of Erna Solberg’s conservative government, and a new justice minister takes over the case on Thursday under a centre-left coalition led by Labour leader Jonas Gahr Store.Mr Store said it was a “gruesome and brutal act”, hours before announcing his new cabinet.

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