Custody hearing for Norway bow-and-arrow suspect

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The suspect in a bow-and-arrow attack that killed five people and wounded three in a quiet Norwegian town this week is facing a custody hearing Friday. He won’t appear in court because he has confessed to the killings and has agreed to being held in custody.

Espen Andersen Braathen, a 37-year-old Danish citizen was arrested Wednesday night, 30 minutes after he began his deadly rampage targeting random people. Police have described the attack as an act of terror.

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On Thursday, Andersen Braathen was handled over to medical authorities, Norwegian news media reported Friday, saying he will be observed and assessed by two experts who will try to clarify whether he was sane at the time of the attack. If they reached the conclusion that he was not sane, he cannot be punished for the acts, but can be sentenced to compulsory mental health care.

Andersen Braathen used a bow and arrow and possibly other weapons to randomly target people at a supermarket and other locations in Kongsberg, the town of about 26,000 where he lived.

Four women and a man between the ages of 50 and 70 were killed, and three other people were wounded, police said.

Police said they believe he acted alone. Norway’s domestic security service PST said the attack “appears to be an act of terror,” but didn’t elaborate. It added that Andersen Braathen was known to the PST, but, again, declined to elaborate.

The suspect has been described by police as a Muslim convert and said there “earlier had been worries of the man having been radicalized,” but he did not elaborate or say why he was previously flagged or what authorities did in response.

According to Norwegian media, Andersen Braathen has a conviction for burglary and drug possession, and last year a court granted a restraining order for him to stay away from his parents for six months after threatening to kill one of them.

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