Oslo shooting near gay bar investigated as terrorism


(CNN) — Oslo’s annual LGBTQ Pride parade was canceled on Saturday following a deadly shooting at a gay bar that Norwegian police are investigating as a possible terror attack.

Two people were killed and eight others were taken to hospital after the shooting near the London Pub, which describes itself on its website as “Oslo’s biggest gay and lesbian venue.”

Police received multiple calls about the shooting at 1:14 a.m. local time and arrived at the scene minutes later. The male suspect was taken into custody three minutes after he arrived, police said.

The suspect, accused of terrorism, is a Norwegian citizen originally from Iran and was “known to the police” but has so far received only “minor convictions”, prosecutor Christian Hatlo told reporters in Oslo on Saturday.

Norway’s national intelligence service said it was working to clarify whether more violence could be planned after the shooting. The Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) announced in a tweet on Saturday that he was “informed about the shooting in Oslo on Saturday”.

“We are now bringing all the relevant information we have to the Oslo police district and working to clarify whether further violence could be planned. We currently have no indication of that,” the PST said.

Hatlo said police had charged the suspect with “murder, attempted murder and terrorist acts.”

He said the terrorism charge was justified based on the number of injuries and deaths, the number of crime scenes and a “general assessment” indicating that the defendant intended to “create serious fear in the population.”

At the time of the news conference, police had attempted to question the suspect but had not yet succeeded in doing so, Hatlo said. The suspect was taken to the police station, and police told CNN there were currently no other suspects.

As for the charges, Hatlo said authorities will see “whatever the investigation shows.”

The suspect had two weapons during the shooting, police said. They did not confirm what weapons he used due to the pending investigation.

Flowers are left at the scene of the shooting in central Oslo.

There were injured people on the floor inside and outside the bar when police arrived. “The scene was chaotic, it was a warm night and there were a lot of people outside so there were people running everywhere,” police told CNN.

Among the eight hospitalized, three people are in critical condition. Another 14 victims suffered minor injuries.

In a statement posted on Facebook after the shooting, the London Pub condemned the incident as “absolutely horrific and sheer evil.” The bar said all of its employees were safe and expressed condolences to the victims and their families.

The annual Oslo Pride parade, scheduled for Saturday, was canceled in the wake of the shootings after receiving “clear advice and recommendations from the police”.

On Facebookthe organizers asked everyone not to attend and said that all events related to Pride were also cancelled.

“We will follow the recommendations of the police and take care of each other. We send warm thoughts and love to the families, the injured and others affected,” Oslo Pride leader Inger Kristin Haugsevje and Association for Gender and Sexual Diversity leader Inge Alexander Gjestvang said in a joint statement.

“Soon we will be proud and visible again, but today we will perform and share the pride celebrations from home.”

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre also expressed his condolences to the victims, calling the shooting “a cruel and deeply shocking attack on innocent people.”

“My thoughts are with the victims and their families,” Støre said on Facebook. “We still don’t know what was behind this terrible act, but to the queer community that is now scared and in mourning, I want to say that we are all with you.”

Norwegian Parliament Speaker Masud Gharahkhani also expressed his condolences.

“That something so brutal and terrible could happen. People were in town for a vacation of diversity and love,” Gharahkhani said. “I also see over and over again what kind of hateful comments abound on social media when we flag queer diversity. It’s sad and unacceptable.”





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