A mentally unstable man armed with a crossbow and arrows was able to carry out a violent and deadly rampage in Kongsberg last fall, mostly because only three police officers were immediately available to try to stop him. Reinforcements eventually arrived, but by then the young Norwegian man Espen Andersen Bråthen had already killed five people.
A commission that studied the police response to the massacre that stunned the nation in October 2021 has concluded that three officers weren’t enough to capture Bråthen during the first dramatic minutes of his rampage inside a local grocery store. It occurred just as Norway was going through a change of government, presenting it with a tragedy on its first day in office.
It also severely challenged local police in the historic town famed for its silver mining west of Oslo, and the commission cleared them of any wrongdoing. The two officers who arrived on the scene first were unable to outmaneuver Bråthen as he shot bows and arrows and threw knives. His murderous spree went on for 37 minutes before police located and wrestled him to the ground on a local street.
A local court has also concluded that Bråthen can’t be punished because he’s mentally ill. He has since testified that he regrets his attacks, and he’s been committed to a psychiatric hospital.