OSLO, Norway – Two people were killed early Saturday morning and at least 14 injured in central Oslo when a gunman opened fire outside two nightclubs and a restaurant, a police official said.
A male suspect was arrested five minutes after the shooting was reported, Oslo police reported on Twitter. Tore Barstad, chief of police operations who spoke to reporters about the incident, did not identify the suspect or speculate on a motive.
One of the two nightclubs, the London Pub, is a hub of Oslo’s gay nightlife. The city’s annual Pride parade takes place on Saturdays and normally marks a festive start to summer.
Olav Rønneberg, crime reporter for the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, happened to be in the area when the violence started. “I saw a man arrive at the scene with a bag, he grabbed a gun and started shooting,” he told the outlet.
Shootings are extremely rare in Norway, a country of five million people whose capital is located on a picturesque fjord.
Gun owners must be licensed and take safety classes, and a ban on semi-automatic weapons issued by Norway’s parliament — a response to a 2011 attack by a far-right gunman that killed 77 people — came into effect last year.
The 2011 attack began when the gunman, Anders Behring Breivik, detonated a fertilizer bomb in central Oslo, killing eight people. He then killed 69 people, mostly teenagers, in a shooting at a political summer camp.
Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison for the attacks, the maximum under Norwegian law. He was released on parole in February by a Norwegian court that said he appeared “devoid of empathy and compassion for the victims of the terror”.
The country has reckoned with the trauma of the massacre for the past decade. People living near the island where it happened are in disagreement over the construction of a permanent public monument in a nearby harbor. The families of the victims support it, but some residents have said the memorial threatens to turn the area into a destination for tragedy tourism.
Mike Ives contributed reporting from Seoul.