Norway logs first murder of the year

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UPDATED: A Norwegian man in his 30s was under arrest Tuesday morning, charged with shooting and killing a well-known defense attorney at his home in Oslo. Police could later reveal that the defendant is the attorney’s own son. Police also have possession of the weapon used in the shooting, which was heard by shocked neighours.

Anne Alræk Solem of the Oslo Police District faced reporters Tuesday morning, following the murder of a high-profile defense attorney. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

Media outlets identified the murder victim as Tor Kjærvik, who has served as a defense attorney in many high-profile crimes and murder cases over the years. That set off immediate and disturbing speculation that the murder was tied to his work.

Anne Alræk Solem of the Oslo Police District told reporters at a morning press conference, however, that police “as of now have no indications” the fatal shooting was related to Kjærvik’s work or any of the sensational cases where he has defended crime suspects. She called the case “very difficult” for Kjærvik’s family, noting that there were four people present in the home where the murder took place and “several” witnesses to the shooting.

Defense attorney Tor Kjærvik was a familiar face in Norwegian courts after a long career as a defense attorney. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

Kjærvik, who recently turned 70, was still active after a long career representing defendants in cases including the triple murder at the Orderud farm outside Oslo in 1999 and the NOKAS robbery in 2004 that ranked as the largest ever in Norway and left a police officer dead. He had begun his career in the police and later served as both a prosecutor and acting police chief in Romerike before becoming a defense attorney. Kjærvik had been scheduled to represent a client in court on Wednesday.

Solem repeated said it was “too early” to answer questions about the murder weapon, whether it had been legally acquired or how many shots were actually fired (neighbours have reported hearing as many as four or five). Nor would she reveal the defendant’s motive, claiming police had only had a “short conversation” with him during the night. He underwent questioning later in the day before facing a custody hearing.

It’s the first murder recorded in the Norwegian capital so far this year, and in the entire country. It occurred at Røa, an otherwise quiet and affluent residential area on Oslo’s west side where Kjærvik lived. Newspapers Akersposten and VG and state broadcaster NRK reported that the shooting took place just before 9pm, in the home where others were also present. Neighbours told NRK they could hear a series of shots, while other witnesses told Akersposten they could see a man running from the scene with a gun in his hand.

“This is a very quiet area,” one neighbour, Pål-André Eidsvig, age 52, told VG. “This is absolutely tragic.”

Several other attorneys in Oslo were expressing shock and sorrow Tuesday morning over the death of a respected colleague. “He was such a friendly and special person, always open and nice to everyone, and he did an incredibly good job for his clients,” Mette Yvonne Larsen, another high-profile attorney in Oslo, told NRK. “I’m shocked, feel a bit numb. I think the world’s best colleague has been murdered. It’s so unreal.” John Christian Elden, yet another well-known crime attorney in Oslo, was appointed to defend Kjærvik’s son.

NewsInEnglish.no/Nina Berglund