UPDATED: Police in Oslo launched a major manhunt Thursday afternoon, following reports that a man carrying a pistol fired shots in the vicinity of Ullevål University Hospital. The heavily trafficked boulevard running in front of the hospital was cordoned off and a man in his 30s was arrested around 3pm.
Police helicopters whirred overhead and all available patrol cars were sent to the Ullevål area after the shooting, reportedly against the wall of a residential building, on Thulstrups Gate, which leads into the main entrance of the hospital.
Police found empty shell casings in the area and used both specially trained dogs and foot patrols to search for the man seen shooting. He was described as light-skinned, about 175 centimeters tall and with eastern European features. He was wearing a dark jacket, beige trousers and shoes with orange soles, according to Lasse Saastad of the Oslo Police District.
Operations leader Tor Gulbrandsen said the man was arrested outside a care facility for drug addicts and that it proceeded without further incident. “We are quite certain we have seized the right man,” Saastad said.
Police said they had no reason to classify the shooting as a terrorist attack but clearly took it seriously. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that the sprawling hospital complex was also cordoned off and that people were prevented from walking along the sidewalks bordering the hospital.
The manhunt was later expanded, with helicopters flying over a wide area of Oslo. Both uniformed and civilian police were involved and special forces joined the search shortly after 2pm. NRK reported the man was arrested on the hospital grounds after tips from the public and driven off in a police car shortly after 3pm.
“This is a serious offense,” Gulbrandsen told NRK. “When someone fires shots in public it must be stopped immediately.” The weapon involved turned out to be a signal pistol without deadly ammunition.