School shooting threat in Bergen
May 3, 2011
UPDATED 18.00 CET: A junior high school in Bergen, west Norway, was evacuated this Tuesday morning after a national newspaper received a message from a pupil claiming to have a weapon in their school bag with the intention of shooting others, “especially Muslims.”
No-one is believed to have been hurt in the incident at Gimle junior high school, during which the school was evacuated just before 11.30. Police briefly questioned two students in connection with the incident, but did not find a weapon and have made no arrests.
‘Everyone that stands in the way will die’
At 09.40, a message was sent to newspaper VG that a person at the school had a weapon on school property with the intention to begin shooting people within half an hour.
According to VG, the message reads: “today, May 3, big things will happen. In exactly half an hour it starts. A massacre at Gimle school Bergen. Everyone that stands in the way will die, especially Muslims are vulnerable. The weapon is securely placed in the bag and ready for action.”
After the newspaper passed the message on to the police, armed units and sharpshooters took up positions around the school and evacuated the buildings class by class. Ambulances were also stationed nearby, and the local university hospital was prepared for an emergency. One student at the school told website bt.no that “we have received a message to sit away from the windows,” and added that “everyone is hysterical.” Students’ telephones and bags were searched by the police.
‘Told to stay down’
A parent speaking to news agency NTB, Rolf Henrik Seim, was told on the phone by his daughter that “she had received a message to stay down, and they stayed in the classroom for an hour before being evacuated.” He was able to meet his daughter as she left the area.
The police leader in charge of the operation, Erik Sveås, told newspaper Aftenposten that “we have no indication that anything is going to happen, but because of school massacres in other countries, we are handling this situation as seriously as we are.” They believe that their investigation will take some time. The police chief in Bergen, Olav Valland, confirmed that “all available personnel” were present.
It later emerged that a student had brought an air gun into the school the previous Thursday, although this was not connected to the latest incident. Pupils were able to return to the school at 13.20, where they were met by crisis teams and psychologists for an official debrief.
The school’s principal, Frode Nilsen, told Aftenposten that the students had “been calm and behaved well.”