OSLO, Norway – Two people were killed and at least 19 injured early Saturday morning in central Oslo when a gunman opened fire outside two nightclubs and a diner, police and home television stations. Norway said.
A male suspect was arrested five minutes after the shooting was reported, Oslo police said on Twitter. Tore Barstad, a police chief who spoke to reporters about the incident, did not identify a suspect or speculate on a motive. He said three of the injured were seriously injured.
One of two nightclubs, the London Pub, is the hub of Oslo’s gay nightlife. The city’s annual Pride Parade, a highlight of ten day festival began last week, scheduled to take place on Saturday.
Olav Rønneberg, a crime reporter for the Norwegian public broadcaster, NRK, happened to be in the area when the violence began. “I saw a man come to the scene with a bag, he grabbed a gun and started shooting,” he said Sockets.
The London pub, located a few blocks from Norway’s Parliament building, opened in the 1970s. An image of the bar in a list on Oslo’s official tourist website shows a rainbow flag hanging above its entrance.
The timing and location of the attack raised concerns that it could be aimed at the LGBTQ community in Norway, where same-sex couples have had the right to marry and have children since 2009.
Shootings are extremely rare in Norway, a country of 5 million people with a capital located next to the picturesque fjord.
Gun owners must be licensed and take safety classes, and a semi-automatic weapons ban enacted by the Norwegian Parliament – a response to the 2011 attack by a far-right gunman that left 77 people die – took effect last year.
The 2011 attack began when gunman Anders Behring Breivik detonated a fertilizer bomb in central Oslo, killing eight people. He then killed 69 people, mostly teenagers, in a mass shooting rampage at a political summer camp.
Mr Breivik received a 21-year prison sentence for the assaults, the maximum amount under Norwegian law. He was denied pardon in February by a Norwegian court saying that he “appears to have no empathy and compassion for the victims of the terrorist attack.”
Henrik Pryser Libell reported from Oslo and Mike Ives from Seoul.