Gunman opens fire at Oslo gay bar, killing two on Pride day

Gunman opens fire at Oslo gay bar, killing two on Pride day
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OSLO, June 25 (Reuters) – A gunman unleashed a terrifying attack on a gay bar and surrounding streets in Oslo on Saturday, killing two people and injuring more than 20 on the day the city’s LGBTQ community was to celebrate their annual Pride. parade.

The attack took place at dawn, with victims shot inside and outside the London Pub, a well-known gay bar and nightclub open since 1979, as well as another bar in the center of the Norwegian capital.

“A lot of people were crying and screaming, the injured were screaming, people were distraught and scared, very, very scared,” said Marcus Nybakken, 46, who had left the London Pub shortly before the shooting and returned later to help.

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“My first thought was that Pride was the target, so that’s scary.”

Journalist Olav Roenneberg from public broadcaster NRK said he was in the area at the time and saw a man arrive with a bag, pull out a gun and start shooting: “Then I saw windows breaking and I understood I had to take cover.” .

One suspect, a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin, was delayed minutes after embarking on the killing spree, according to police, who said they believed he acted alone. Two weapons, including a fully automatic pistol, were recovered from the crime scene, they added.

“There are reasons to think this may be a hate crime,” police said. “We are investigating whether the Pride itself was a target or if there are other motives.”

They added that the attack is also being investigated as a possible act of terrorism.

Norwegian police, who are normally unarmed, will now carry weapons until further notice as a precaution, Commander Benedicte Bjoernland said. Norway’s PST intelligence service added that it was investigating whether there could be more attacks. “For now we have no indication of that,” PST said.

Oslo Pride organizers canceled Saturday’s parade, citing police advice. “Soon we will be proud and visible again, but today we will mark the Pride celebrations at home,” they said.

King Harald of Norway said he and the royal family were devastated by the attack, which police said also left 10 people seriously injured and 11 slightly injured.

“We must unite and defend our values: freedom, diversity and mutual respect,” added the 85-year-old monarch.

The shooting took place just months after Norway marked 50 years since abolishing a law criminalizing gay sex. The suspect was known to authorities for even violence of a less severe nature, police said.

The Nordic nation of 5.4 million has lower crime rates than many Western countries, though it has experienced hate-motivated shootings, including when far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in 2011.

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Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Gwladys Fouche; Edited by Sam Holmes and Pravin Charlie

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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