A 34-year-old Norwegian man with a long criminal record of violent assaults was in custody this week, charged with attempted murder after shooting two teenagers on board the Mortensrud metro line in Oslo. Both teenagers are Norwegian citizens with immigrant background.
Police initially said they were investigating whether the attack on Sunday evening was racially motivated but later added that the investigation was in its early stages. “We’re not latching on to one hypothesis,” police told newspaper Dagsavisen on Monday. The suspect’s defense attorney has since reported that his client denies his attack was racially motivated, adding that he instead “felt threatened.” Witnesses have reported that the man had been involved in a fight before shots were fired.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported that police were first called at around 7:30pm after a man was threatening people outside a sushi and Asian restaurant in Oslo’s Tveita district. Police weren’t sent to the scene, however, because of a staffing shortage and another incident at the time that took priority. Forty-five minutes later, however, police responded in force when calls came in about shooting on board the metro at the Skøyenåsen station not far from Tveita.
The same man was involved in both cases and he was arrested shortly thereafter. He has a long criminal record of violence, with his first conviction at the age of 16. The most serious of four convictions came in 2011, reported Aftenposten, when he was put into a special form of custody meant to protect the public after he hit another person in the head and face with an iron bar. He was released from prison in 2018 but was convicted again in 2019 for kicking and beating another man in the face.
He was supposed to start serving his jail sentence in that case later this month, and was allowed to go free in the meantime. Now he’s back in custody but had refused to undergo questioning as of Tuesday evening.