The terror suspect charged with killing two people and injuring 21 more at an Oslo gay bar last night has been named as a 42-year-old ex-plumber born in Iran.
Zaniar Matapour was born in Iranian Kurdistan before coming to Bergen, Norway as a refugee at the age of 12.
He was charged early this morning with two murders, attempted murder and terrorism after the homophobic terror attack at city centre LGBT+ haunt London Pub.
The suspect filmed as he was pinned down after the shooting is named as Zaniar Matapour
Matapour, filmed by a nearby eyewitness in footage posted to Snapchat, has been charged
Multiple police officers leaned on the 42-year-old to detain him after the mass shooting
The Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) investigated Matapour just a month ago, but decided he was ‘not an imminent threat’, Norwegian national broadcaster VG reported.
PST chief Roger Berg told a press conference this afternoon: ‘In May, the PST conducted interviews with the [suspected] perpetrator in connection with the fact he had shown interest in statements that are perceived as a violation of Islam.
Footage posted by eyewitnesses showed cops arresting Matapour in the early hours
‘It was not considered in these conversations that the [suspected] perpetrator had any intention of violence.’
Security services have raised the terror threat from Level 3, described as ‘ordinary’. to ‘extraordinary’ Level 5.
The PST stated that Level 5 warning entails no special requirements among the population beyond added ‘vigilance’ and ‘a low threshold to contact the police’.
Videos shared to social media showed hundreds of Pride marchers gathering in Oslo nonetheless, seemingly spurred on by last night’s alleged hate crime.
A secondary school dropout with a long history of mental health issues, Matapour was sentenced to ten months in prison as a teen after he was tied to a stabbing at a school prom.
He was acquitted by the Court of Appeal, according to court documents reviewed by Norwegian outlet NettaVisen.
A mourner cries as they lay flowers at the makeshift memorial for the London Pub victims
Despite the ‘extraordinary’ terror threat, defiant LGBT+ Norwegians and allies gathered today
Matapour’s involvement in serious crime did not end there, with the Oslo terror suspect charged with attempted murder and possession of a firearm in 2019.
He was again released after a court appeal.
The victims in Matapour’s alleged attack last night have not yet been identified.
Matapour’s first mental health diagnosis was made in the 1990s, with his listed conditions including paranoid schizophrenia, PTSD and ‘delusions’, the website added.
His lawyer, high-profile Norwegian John Christian Elden, insisted that the suspect’s mental health conditions are taken into account by investigators.
Norwegian prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre said this afternoon: ‘I know that many Muslims are scared and despairing. Then it is our responsibility that no one other than the person behind the attack is responsible.
‘Let there be no doubt, we are one community, we are a diverse community.’
Prime Minister Støre urged Norwegians not to blame the country’s Muslim community, stating: ‘It is our responsibility that no one other than the person behind the attack is responsible’
Pride marchers walked the city centre streets and left flowers at the site to remember the dead
Despite police pleas to be vigilant – and the cancellation of official events – marches took place
French President Emmanuel Macron slammed the ‘barbarism of the Islamist terrorist’ in a tribute tweet posted at lunchtime today.
After the deadly melee in central Oslo last night, a man was filmed being wrestled to the ground by police with the help of revellers.
One woman described having to play dead to avoid the shooter’s gunfire.
The other site hit during the attack around 1.15am today was next door’s Herr Nilsen Jazz Club, where revellers described being hit with flying shards of glass.
She said : ‘There was a woman who pulled me down and told me I had to play dead.’
The man then shot the table directly behind her. She escaped London Pub unharmed.
Police lawyer Christian Hatlo said: ‘Our overall assessment is that there are grounds to believe that he wanted to cause grave fear in the population.
Two dead and several seriously injured in Norway nightclub shooting
Police attend the scene in Oslo in the early hours this morning immediately after the shooting
The London Pub gay nightclub in central Oslo is pictured on a map of the Norwegian capital
‘We need to go through his medical history, if he has any. It’s not something that we’re aware of now.’
Oslo was due to hold its annual gay pride parade later on Saturday, but organisers cancelled the event amid fears of potential ‘copycat’ attacks.
Planners Oslo Pride wrote on Facebook this morning: ‘Oslo Pride has received clear advice and a recommendation that the parade, Pride Park, and any other event in relation to Oslo Pride be cancelled.
‘We will follow the police’s recommendation and take care of each other’, lead organiser Inger Kristin Haugsevje added.
Oslo Police District confirmed last night: ‘Two people have been confirmed dead in the shooting episode. There are several seriously injured.’
National newspaper in Norway, VG, reported that ‘witnesses said people ran from the scene in panic’.
Oslo’s university hospital said it had gone on red alert following the shooting.
Olav Roenneberg, a journalist from Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, said he witnessed the shooting.
Video on social media shows emergency services outside London Pub, a gay nightclub in Oslo (pictured, file photo) at 1.15am on Saturday morning. Two were killed in the terror attack
Leader of Oslo Pride confirms cancelation of Pride parade
‘I saw a man arrive at the site with a bag. He picked up a weapon and started shooting,’ Mr 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.’
Oslo Police District also said that a person has been arrested near the scene shortly after the incident (pictured)
Police inspector Tore Soldal said two of the shooting victims died and 10 people were being treated for serious injuries, but none of them was believed to be life-threatening.
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said in a Facebook post that ‘the shooting outside London Pub in Oslo tonight was a cruel and deeply shocking attack on innocent people’.
He said that while the motive was unclear, the shooting had caused fear and grief in the LGBTQ community.
‘We all stand by you,’ Mr Gahr Stoere wrote.
Christian Bredeli, who was at the bar, told VG 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.’
Norwegians paid their respects at the scene this morning, hours after the deadly terror attack
Video on social media shows emergency services outside London Pub, a gay nightclub in Oslo at 1.15am on Saturday morning. Police have arrested a suspect at the scene (pictured)
Images online have showed nightclubbers with blood on their faces receiving treatment from emergency service responders.
Two people have been killed and several seriously injured in a shooting at a nightclub in Norway, police have confirmed (pictured is the scene outside the nightclub)
Footage shared on social media, which has not been officially verified, appeared to show one man with a serious head wound.
It was reported that ‘up to 20 shots’ were fired in the nightclub.
Norway’s BNN Newsroom tweeted: ‘The police ask people in the area to move away, to make room for ambulances.’
A large police response was underway, with a number of ambulances in the area treating the wounded.
Helicopters hovered above central Oslo while ambulance and police car sirens were heard across the city.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted this morning: ‘London stands with Oslo. Our thoughts and solidarity are with the victims, their families and all those affected by this horrific attack, hours before Oslo’s #Pride was due to take place. #LoveIsLove and hate will never win.’
The chaotic scene in Oslo is pictured, with emergency services on the pavement treating the wounded. Police have made an arrest