MOSCOW (AP) — A shooting at a mosque in Norway is being investigated as an attempted terrorist attack and the alleged gunman also is a suspect in his younger stepsister’s slaying, police in the Norwegian capital said Sunday.
A man in his 20s was taken into custody after the shooting inside the Al-Noor Islamic Center that wounded one person, Oslo police said. Investigators so far think no one else was involved in Saturday’s violence at the mosque, located in the Oslo suburb of Baerum.
When officers went to the shooting suspect’s residence, they found the body of his 17-year-old stepsister, police said Sunday evening. The alleged mosque gunman was being investigated in her death, police said.
The Oslo Police department said forensic work at the mosque “confirms that several shots were fired, but the number of shots and the type of weapons are not yet established.”
The department said it was working with the Norwegian Police Security Service, Norway’s national domestic security agency, since the “investigation has given us a better overall understanding of the attack” at the mosque.
“The fact that the aggressor entered a mosque armed and from the investigation so far has been found to have expressed hostile attitudes against immigrants has led the police to investigate this attack as an attempted act of terrorism,” the police department said in a statement.
Oslo Deputy Police Inspector Rune Skjold said during a news conference Sunday that mosque shooting was being treated as an attempted terror attack in part because the investigation uncovered evidence of the man’s “right-wing extremist views” and alleged animosity toward immigrants.
“Because of that, in relation to what he’s done, it’s clear that what he did has caused fear among the public, Skjold said. “And based on the views he’s expressed online, it means we can safely say we are investigating an attempted act of terrorism.”
Police said the suspect refused to answer questions and investigators plan to interview neighbors for information about his stepsister and her death.
Skjold said the alleged gunman was prepared to cause deaths and more injuries at the Al-Noor Islamic Center and didn’t succeed because of the “great courage” of people inside the mosque.
“There is no doubt that the swift and firm response from the persons inside the mosque stopped the aggressor and prevented further consequences,” Skjold said. “Trying to neutralize an armed person is always dangerous.”