Norwegian police arrest gunman after ambulance rampage

Norwegian police arrest gunman after ambulance rampage

A damaged ambulance stands next to a building after an armed man who stole the vehicle was apprehen
A damaged ambulance stands next to a building after an armed man who stole the vehicle was apprehended by police in Oslo, Norway, Oct 22, 2019. (Photo: NTB Scanpix/Stian Lysberg Solum via REUTERS)

OSLO: Norwegian police said they arrested an armed man who stole an ambulance in Oslo on Tuesday (Oct 22) then ran down and slightly injured four pedestrians, including twin babies.

Police said they were searching for a second suspect - a woman described as having fair skin and wearing a black jacket, around 1.65cm and "who appears to be under the influence".

According to the TV2 channel, the arrested man is in his 30s and the woman being sought is in her 20s. Both are Norwegian nationals and known previously to the police.

Earlier, police said they had "taken control of an ambulance that was stolen by an armed man". Police officers had fired shots to arrest the suspect, who was not seriously injured.

"A woman with a pram and an elderly couple were run over or had to throw themselves out of the way" of the stolen vehicle, police added in another Twitter post, adding that the woman and a child were taken to hospital.

Oslo University Hospital said seven-month-old twins were involved in the incident, one of whom was lightly injured while the status of the other was not yet determined.

"There is nothing to indicate that this incident is terrorism related," Oslo police operations leader Erik Hestvik told reporters.

"The investigation is still in an early phase ... We are conducting a broad, intensive investigation," the police added in a statement.

Public broadcaster NRK showed images of an ambulance driving in the Torshov neighbourhood of Oslo while several gunshots rang out.

Television images also showed a damaged pram lying by the roadside, and an upturned traffic sign.

An overturn car is seen on the road, after it was allegedly struck by an ambulance which was stolen
An overturned car is seen on the road, after it was allegedly struck by an ambulance which was stolen by an armed man in Oslo, Norway, Oct 22, 2019. (Photo: NTB Scanpix/Hakon Mosvold Larsen via REUTERS)

Witnesses cited by public broadcaster NRK said police shot at the tyres of the ambulance and the driver fired back, which police have not confirmed. Pursued by police, the ambulance then crashed into a gate outside a residential building.

Television images showed a heavily damaged Mercedes ambulance with what appeared to be several bullet holes in the front left door.

According to media reports, the armed man hijacked the ambulance after the vehicle he and the woman were in overturned in an accident.

Police said they seized two weapons at the scene.

The hospital spokesman said two of the hospital's ambulances were involved.

The ambulance crew were responding to a routine incident when their vehicle was taken.

"They were called to an ordinary traffic accident where they were met by the armed person," Oslo University hospital spokesman Anders Bayer said, adding that the hospital had quickly tracked the ambulance via its built-in GPS device.

"One was hijacked by an armed person with a shotgun. Some minutes later one of our other ambulances managed to stop the hijacked vehicle by crashing into it. Then the police came after the crash and got him," he said.

The ambulance came to a halt just over 1.5km from where it was hijacked.

The incident took place in a residential neighbourhood in northern Oslo. Students at a nearby school and daycare centre were ordered to remain indoors.

A large number of police officers, some of them heavily armed, were deployed at the scene.

The suspect's motive was not immediately known, police said.

Norway has experienced several terrorist attacks by rightwing extremists, including the July 2011 twin attacks by Anders Behring Breivik that left 77 people dead.

There have however been no attacks carried out by Islamist extremists on Norwegian soil.

Source: Agencies/nc