Two people were killed and more than a dozen injured early Saturday when a man opened fire outside a bar popular with the LGBTQ community in Norway’s capital, Oslo, police said.
The events occurred in the early hours as the city was gearing up for its annual Pride parade. Organisers cancelled all Pride events planned for Saturday on the advice of the police.
A suspect was arrested and police don’t believe any other people were involved, police spokesman Tore Barstad said.
Barstad said the motive was not immediately known and it wasn’t clear whether the shooting had any connection to the Pride parade.
Oslo Pride said it was nevertheless advised by police to cancel the parade and other Pride events.
“Oslo Pride therefore urges everyone who planned to participate or watch the parade to not show up. All events in connection with Oslo Prides are canceled,” organisers said on the official Facebook page of the event.
Barstad said 14 people were receiving medical treatment, eight of whom have been hospitalized.
Olav Roenneberg, a journalist from Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, said he witnessed the shooting.
“I saw a man arrive at the site with a bag. He picked up a weapon and started shooting,” Roenneberg told NRK. “First I thought it was an air gun. Then the glass of the bar next door was shattered and I understood I had to run for cover.”
The shots were fired outside the London Pub, which describes itself as the most popular gay bar in Oslo since it opened in 1979.
“The shooting outside London Pub in Oslo tonight was a cruel and deeply shocking attack on innocent people,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said in a Facebook post.
He said that while the motive was unclear, the shooting had caused fear and grief in the LGBTQ community.
“We all stand by you,” Gahr Stoere wrote.
Christian Bredeli, who was at the bar, told Norwegian newspaper VG that he hid on the fourth floor with a group of about 10 people until he was told it was safe to come out.
“Many were fearing for their lives,” he said. “On our way out we saw several injured people, so we understood that something serious had happened.”
Norwegian broadcaster TV2 showed footage of people running down Oslo streets in panic as shots rang out in the background.
Norway is a relatively safe country but has experienced violent attacks by right-wing extremists, including one of the worst mass shootings in Europe in 2011, when a gunman killed 69 people on the island of Utoya after setting off a bomb in Oslo that left eight dead.
In 2019, another right-wing extremist killed his stepsister and then opened fire in a mosque but was overpowered before anyone there was injured.