UPDATED: Norwegian police were crediting a colleague’s bullet-proof vest for saving his life during a dramatic shooting episode in the mountain valley of Gudbrandsdalen Wednesday night. Eight hours later, after working through the night, police could finally arrest the man in his late 60s who fired at the police officer with a hunting rifle.
The drama began in a medical clinic in the small town of Vinstra, when police were called because of an unruly patient who attempted to attack a doctor. The doctor managed to lock himself in his office, but when police arrived the threatening patient had left.
Shot at close range
Police patrols later located him at his home, at which point the man confronted them with a rifle and fired at them from a distance of only around four or five meters, local police chief Arne Hammersmark told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
The police were armed themselves but did not return fire. The man, described as mentally unstable, fled and the officer who was shot was rushed first to the closest hospital in Lillehammer and then airlifted to Oslo University Hospital Ullevål for further treatment. His wound, however, proved not to be life-threatening.
Police then received reinforcements including personnel from the state police’s preparedness unit who are specially trained in negotiating with armed assailants. It took several more hours before the man was located once again, hiding inside his home, and officers considered it safe to enter the home, arrest him and take him into custody. Meanwhile, an elderly woman living on the lower level of the house was evacuated and local residents were warned to stay indoors with their doors locked.
‘Very, very dramatic and dangerous’
Police said they were unprepared that the man was armed, since his registered weapons had been seized on an earlier occasion. They said the rifle he had must have been unregistered.
Hammersmark described the entire episode as “very, very dramatic and very dangerous.” He told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that “no one knew for sure whether he was in the house, or whether he was still on the loose outdoors and planning to shoot some more.” He was not armed when finally arrested, but the rifle used to shoot the police officer was found inside the home.
The 69-year-old man was placed in custody in Lillehammer, where he later was charged with attempted murder of a police officer. He reportedly told police he simply felt he had to shoot the police officer, fearing he’d otherwise be shot himself. He was undergoing psychiatric evaluation.