Breivik gives chilling detail of island shootings
TO AN OSLO courtroom frozen in horror, Anders Behring Breivik yesterday described in chilling detail how he shot dead 69 people, mostly teenagers, on an island summer camp last July.
“I took the gun out and thought it was now or never, and it seemed like a year,” he said, describing how he used a first shot to disable his victims. “When I make a follow-up shot, his [victim’s] cranium bursts and there are brains flowing out. I remember that very well,” Breivik said in an unemotional, matter-of-fact tone.
His victims, he said, appeared paralysed before he shot them.
“I walk towards a group of 10 who have stopped. They have stopped running and just lie down. I go to them and shoot them all to the head. They were paralysed most likely.”
He told his trial that his original plan was to kill “all 564” who were on Utoeya Island, venue for a Labour Party youth summer camp on July 22nd last year.
His testimony struck many as more brutal and macabre than any horror film. He recounted, with amazing recall, how he shot and hunted down his prey.
He seemed to have no comprehension of the suffering he caused to those who died and to those who continue to mourn the loss of loved ones. Some in the court could not bear it and had to leave.
“It was extremely hard to shoot that first shot, it is contrary to human nature. But after that ... it became easier,” he said.
Adopting an almost philosophical tone, he continued: “To take a human life is the most extreme you can do, but you weigh that against superior motives.”
He began the shooting after arriving by boat dressed as a police officer. Many victims were shot as they tried to swim to the mainland almost a kilometre away or huddled behind rocks on the shore.
“Calmly I raised my rifle ... and shot from a distance toward these people. I know that I hit at least four of them ...
“I shouted on two occasions, ‘you are going to die today, Marxists’ ... and people panicked completely ... The object was to kill everyone on the island by scaring them into the water.”
One of the first people he met was Monica Elisabeth Bøsei (45), known affectionately as “Mother Utoeya”. Breivik had reassured her that he had been sent to Utoeya to protect the campers in the aftermath of the Oslo bombing chaos. Believing this, she had suggested that he show concern for the younger children by not showing them his weapons.
The first victim was Trond Berntzen (51), an off-duty policeman who had become suspicious about Breivik’s identity. Breivik said that he had thought “long and hard” but felt he “had to go through it”. He shot Berntzen right in the head and almost immediately, he shot “Moor Utoeya” three times. “It was a suicide mission,” he said.
After the first two killings, it had become easier, he went on. He then went on a killing rampage, not running amok and out of control, but deliberate and planned.
He recalled that after he shot his third victim, just beyond the main house, he met a young girl. Still pretending to be a genuine policeman, he asked her: “Did you see him, where is he?” but she had seen the shooting.
“You shot, you shot him,” Breivik recalled her shouting at him. With that, he shot her in the head.
He shot and individually killed youngsters who had gathered in a group outside the cafe before entering the building itself. “I planned on executing as many as possible in there,” he recounted.
Without showing emotion, he told the court how he could recall the brains of one of his victims, a boy, oozing out of his head.
In the café, he discovered that many had already been assembling to hear news about the Oslo bombing. In one of the rooms, he killed seven. “One boy zigzagged so much to avoid being shot in the head ... I shot him many times in the body, if I recall,” Breivik said.
Terrified of being discovered, a few hid in the toilets listening to the screams of their friends. One of these will be a key witness.
Breivik said many times that people were stunned and immobile, quite literally petrified with fear, a concept he himself did not seem to grasp.
Asked by lawyers representing families of the dead whether he considered his actions cowardly, he responded: “I knew that I would be the most hated person in Norway and thought about shooting myself. I then thought I have to survive this and face up to the operation.”