Norway’s asylum crisis is heating up, and things are getting interesting: a lawyer has been charged for allegedly shooting up an asylum center near Oslo. According to today’s Aftenposten:
Attorney denies firing shots at asylum center
Police were holding a well-known attorney in custody on Tuesday, after charging him with attempted murder for allegedly shooting at an asylum center west of Oslo earlier this summer. The attorney denies he’s the sniper who severely injured a 16-year-old refugee from Somalia.
The shots were fired with a hunting rifle from this hilltop across from the asylum center in Hvalstad, west of Oslo.
The sniper incident at the asylum center in Hvalstad, Asker Township, shocked the local community and police have suspected all along that it was motivated by racism.
Police arrested the 50-year-old attorney late Monday, after finally finding the rifle used in the attack on the asylum center in Hvalstad, in Asker Township. The rifle was found after 35 soldiers from the Royal Guards intensively searched the hilltop near the asylum center from which the shots were fired.
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The rifle is registered to the attorney, who, in accordance with press practices in Norway, isn’t being publicly identified. The police already had him as a suspect, believing him to be the same man who a witness has said hitched a ride with her shortly after the shooting on July 18.
When the warrant went out for the attorney in connection with the refugee center shooting, he was found to already be sitting in police custody in Ski, south of Oslo. He’d been arrested there over the weekend, after going amok at a motorcycle gathering and threatening passersby with a knife.
The attorney underwent questioning last evening and through the night, and claims he had nothing to do with the sniper attack in Hvalstad. He claims his rifle must have been stolen.
While police suspect racism motivated the sniper attack, the attorney has a record of representing minors in juvenile delinquency cases and he also has worked for the United Nations in troubled areas overseas. His name is on a Justice Ministry list of persons who can be sent to help in such areas of conflict outside Norway: Just last spring he was named as a member of a government resource panel.
He’s most recently been working in his own law firm but earlier worked for a major firm in Oslo. Newspaper VG reported that former colleagues described him as a “kind, interested and clever” attorney.
Newspaper Aftenposten, however, reported that friends say he’d been suffering from psychological problems. Police say they will, as is routine, evaluate his mental condition.
Newspaper VG also reported that the attorney recently had bragged at a party that he had fired the shots at the asylum center. He was intoxicated at the time, and withdrew his comments when he sobered up.
Officials at the asylum center praised the police investigation and expressed relief that they’d arrested a suspect. The teenager who was shot continues to recover after several rounds of emergency surgery and is said to be surrounded by a solid support network.
Previous posts about Norway’s asylum crisis:
Hat tip: TB.