Oslo shooting suspect refusing to talk as police warn against LGBTQ+ gathering

Norway's President of the Storting Masud Gharahkhani and Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store light candles during a mourning service in Oslo Cathedral

The main suspect in the Oslo shooting that killed two and injured more than 20 people is refusing to explain his actions to investigators.

A 42-year-old Norwegian citizen was arrested shortly after the shooting, which took place at an LGBTQ+ nightclub and several other locations on Saturday (25 June).

The man, Zaniar Matapour, is being held on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and terrorism, but is so far refusing to cooperate with investigators. Oslo police reportedly questioned the suspect both on Saturday and Sunday, with no success.

He is to remain in pretrial custody for the next four weeks, according to authorities.

Defence lawyer John Christian Elden told Associated Press via email that his client will not issue a statement unless police record and release it “with no time delay so it won’t be censored or manipulated”.

The shooting took place at 1:14 am local time, where Matapour is alleged to have opened fire in the popular queer nightclub London Pub, the Herr Nilsen jazz club and a takeaway.

Oslo Pride cancelled its scheduled parade just hours before it was meant to start, saying that “we urge all of Norway to show solidarity and mark Pride at home, in their neighbourhoods”.

A spontaneous silent march then took place along Rosenkrantz towards the London Pub, where allies showed their respect to those affected by the shooting.

“Seeing people crying, cheering and being courageous to go to the streets is the most beautiful thing I witnessed,” tweeted one user who attended the march.

Police have however cautioned against another LGBTQ+ solidarity event planned for outside Oslo Town Hall on Monday (27 June), citing security concerns, per Reuters.

Norway’s Police Security Service (PST) has since raised the terror alert level in the country from “moderate” to “extraordinary”.

According to PST acting chief Roger Berg, the suspect is a known “radicalised Islamist” who suffers from mental health problems. He was known to authorities since 2015.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store speaks during a mourning service in Oslo Cathedral

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store speaks during a mourning service in Oslo Cathedral (Photo by Javad Parsa / NTB / AFP) / Norway OUT (Photo by JAVAD PARSA/NTB/AFP via Getty Images)

A ceremony took place in Oslo Cathedral on Sunday (26 June) where mourners, including prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Norwegian royalty, sat in muted colours in front of an altar draped in Pride colours.

“During the day, the city was full of people who wanted to speak out, about sorrow and anger,” Støre said. “But also about support and solidarity and the will to continue on fighting, for the right of every individual to live a free life, a safe life.

“These misdeeds remind us of this. This fight is not over. It is not safe from dangers. But we are going to win it, together,” he continued.