Horrific delay? Norway eyes police response to arrow attack

Norway Bow and Arrow Attack

HELSINKI (AP) — Norway on Saturday announced it will hold an independent investigation into the actions of police and security agencies following a bow-and-arrow attack that killed five people and injured three others. Police have been criticized for reacting too slowly to contain the massacre, acknowledging that the five deaths took place after police first encountered the attacker.

Norway's domestic intelligence agency, known by the acronym PST, said it decided to seek the review after consulting with the country's national and regional police commanders about the attack Wednesday night in the southern town of Kongsberg. A 37-year-old local resident who police said has admitted to the killings has been detained and is undergoing psychiatric evaluation.

“Given the seriousness of the matter, it is very important that learning points and any weaknesses and errors are identified quickly in order to be able to implement measures immediately,” PST said in a statement.

Norwegian media have questioned how long it took officers to apprehend suspect Espen Andersen Braathen after the regional police department received reports about a man shooting arrows at a supermarket. According to a police timeline, the first information on the attack was logged at 6:13 p.m. and Andersen Braathen was caught at 6:47 p.m.

Authorities haven't revealed what precisely happened within that 34-minute period.

In general, police officials say the first officers on the scene observed the suspect but took cover and called for reinforcements when arrows were fired at them. The officials have acknowledged the armed suspect got away and then likely killed the five victims between the ages of 52 and 78 both outdoors and inside some apartments.

Norway is one of the few dozen countries in the world where law enforcement officers don’t automatically carry guns though they have a rapid access to guns and other weapons, depending on the situation. Authorities in a statement said police were unarmed during their first encounter and armed during later encounters with Andersen Braathen.

Authorities said one of the wounded was an off-duty police officer struck inside the supermarket, and that all the wounded have been released from the hospital.