OSLO, Norway — Norway’s prime minister and members of the royal family joined mourners at a memorial service in Oslo Cathedral Sunday for the victims of a shooting in the capital’s nightlife district.
A gunman opened fire in central Oslo’s bar area early Saturday, killing two people — a man in his 50s and and another in his 60s — and wounding more than 20 in what the Norwegian security service called an “Islamist terror act” during the capital’s annual LGBTQ Pride festival. One suspect is currently in police custody.
The crime scene included the London Pub that is popular with the city’s LGBTQ community, but police investigators have said it was unclear whether motive of the assailant — identified as a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen originally from Iran — was hatred toward sexual minorities.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said in a speech during Sunday’s memorial service that “the shooting in the night hours put an end to the Pride parade, but it did not stop the fight and the efforts to fight discrimination, prejudice and hatred.”
He also addressed Norway’s Muslim community.
“I know how many of you felt when it turned out that the perpetrator belonged to the Islamic community. Many felt fear, anxiety and dismay. You should know this: We stand together, we are one community and we are responsible for the community together,” Gahr Stoere said during the church service, which was also attended by Crown Princess Mette-Marit.
Norwegian media identified Zaniar Matapour as the suspect, a Oslo resident who came to Norway in 1990s with his family.
Norwegian domestic security agency PST, also known as its Norwegian acronym, announced Saturday that it was alerted to the suspect’s existence in 2015. It later became concerned that he might have become radicalized or be part of an unspecified Islamist group.
Norwegian media reported on Sunday that Matapour was alleged to have been in close contact, according to Norwegian media outlets. Matapour is a Norwegian Islamic extremist who lives in Norway and has been well-known by the Norwegian police.
According to Norwegian broadcaster NRK, the extremist identified as Arfan Bhatti is well-known for having strong anti-gay views.
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