Pride celebrations were marred by another mass shooting, this time in Oslo, Norway, which left two people dead and at least 21 others injured–in three different locations including the popular London Pub, the Heir Nilson Jazz Club and another pub.
Norwegian officials say it happened in the early hours of Saturday morning, as revelers gathered in at the London Pub–a popular LGBTQIA+ bar ahead of what would have been the city’s larger Pride celebrations on Saturday afternoon.
CBS News reports that the victims were both in their 50s and 60s. 10 out of 21 injured are in serious conditions.
Norwegian authorities have confirmed that the suspect is a 42 years-old Norwegian citizen, Iranian descent.
Officially, the suspect is not known but authorities knew about him at least until 2015. The suspect was later identified by authorities as having been part of an unspecified Islamist group.
Norway’s prime Minister said that the suspect was interviewed in May by the BBC, but was not considered a threat at that time. “We now need to see the result of an investigation,”PM Jonas Gahr Stoere said it on BBC Newshour.
Roger Berg, the acting chief of Norwegian Police Security Service, claimed that the incident was an “extreme Islamist terror act”He said that the suspect had committed a crime. “long history of violence and threats,”Mental health issues as well.
Norwegian media identified the suspect in question as Zaniar Matapour. John Christian Elden the defense lawyer for the suspect said that his client had not spoken to investigators according to CBS News.
“He has not given any reason. It is too early to conclude whether this is hate crime or terrorism,”Elden stated this in an email to The Associated Press.
Christian Hatlo, a police lawyer, stated that it was too early for us to know if the gunman had targeted LGBTQIA+ people.
Two weapons were recovered by investigators after the attack: an automatic weapon as well as a handgun.
The Norwegian Police Security Service raised its terror alert from the result of the incident. “moderate”To “extraordinary” — the highest level.
Police suggested that organizers cancel Saturday’s official parade. Reuters reports that thousands of people continued to march in the streets for an unplanned event. They shouted English and screamed at police. “We’re here, we’re queer, we won’t disappear.”
John Kirby (Coordinator for Strategic Communications for National Security Council) released Saturday’s statement, in which he stated, “We’re all horrified by the mass shooting in Oslo today targeting the LGBTQIA+ community there and our hearts obviously go out to the all the families of the victims, the people of Norway, which is a tremendous ally, and of course the LGBTQIA+ community there and around the world.”