UPDATED: A 37-year-old woman from Thailand and her 12-year-old son were killed and a third person, the woman’s Norwegian husband, was seriously wounded in a shooting during the night in Norway’s far northern city of Kirkenes, near the Russian border. Police later confirmed a deadly case of domestic violence, and have charged the woman’s husband with a double murder.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that police were called to a residential apartment in the center of town shortly after 4am Monday. The calls came from neighbours reporting a noisy disturbance in the apartment.
“When we arrived we saw that three people had been shot, two of whom were confirmed dead,” Morten Daae of the Finnmark Police District told NRK. He said the woman was confirmed dead at the scene, while the two others were rushed to Kirkenes’ hospital with critical injuries. Her son, a seventh-grader at the local Kirkenes elementary school, was later declared dead at the hospital.
“We’re still trying to find out what happened,” Daae said. NRK had reported earlier in the morning that all three gunshot victims were related and police said there were no suspicions that others were in the apartment when the shooting occurred.
While that indicated a murder-suicide, Daae initially said it was too early to draw any conclusions and that a full investigation was underway. The man who was killed was later sent by air ambulance to the larger University of North Norway’s hospital in Tromsø.
He has since been charged with murdering both the woman and her son, both of whom were citizens of Thailand. Police said at a press conference in Kirkenes on Monday that they now “see the contures” of a pending divorce as the catalyst for the shooting. Hans Møllebakken, chief of the Kirkenes police station, said the woman had been at the station just last week, to clarify her son’s residence permission in Norway, “and she mentioned that she was planning to move away from the man she was married to.” It was “too early,” he said, determine a motive for the shooting but that the marriage breaking up may have set if off.
The shooting has socked residents of Kirkenes, where the local church opened its doors for anyone wanted to gather there while the boy’s school lowered its flag to half-mast on Monday, The school’s principal, Tove Korsnes, told local newspaper Sydvaranger Avis that other students at the school had been informed about what she called “a family tragedy,” and said a crisis team had been sent to the school, to speak with both the children and teachers.
“We will try to make the day as tolerable as possible,” Korsnes told Sydvaranger Avis. “There will be some teaching, and some conversations. We have a lot of support around us.”