Police criticized after mosque shooting

Bookmark and Share

An external investigation of police response to last year’s shooting at a mosque in suburban Bærum has resulted in some sharp criticism. It took police far too long to reach the mosque, and they had cooperated poorly after receiving earlier tips about the assailant, a young Norwegian man known for racist attitudes.

Both local police and the state police intelligence unit PST were blasted by the commission appointed to examine how they’d handled the case. PST had been tipped about the Norwegian assailant Philip Manshaus as early as the summer of 2018, after alarmed acquaintances reported how he was displaying right-wing extremism and racist attitudes. The now 22-year-old Manshaus, who was recently sentenced to Norway’s toughest jail term, testified in court that he had no regrets about murdering his Chinese-born adopted sister or trying to massacre Muslims, because he felt they posed a threat to the white Norwegian race.

Investigators concluded that PST “could have and probably should have” had a conversation with Manshaus and his family, but failed to pursue the case. Both PST and police in Oslo were also criticized for cooperating poorly and failing to be more open about their background information on Manshaus. PST has been criticized earlier as well for failing to take the white-extremist terror threat more seriously.

Police were also criticized for their response time that “could have and should have been shorter,” according to the commission. The closest patrol car was 12 kilometers away, neither officer in the car was familiar with the area and they reportedly used outdated Google Maps to find the location of the mosque, where elderly Muslim men had managed to halt Manshaus’ attack and were holding him until police arrived.

newsinenglish.no staff