Smiling in court, suspected Norway mosque gunman chooses to stay silent

Click to play video: 'Alleged mosque gunman Philip Manshaus appears in Oslo court court'
Alleged mosque gunman Philip Manshaus appears in Oslo court court
WATCH: Man accused of an attempted attack on an Oslo mosque appeared in court bruised but smiling – Aug 12, 2019

A suspected gunman accused of an attempted terrorist attack on an Oslo, Norway mosque and separately killing his teenage stepsister appeared in court on Monday looking bruised and scratched, but smiling.

The suspect did not speak, and his defence lawyer Unni Fries told The Associated Press he “will use his right not to explain himself for now.”

Philip Manshaus, 21, was arrested Saturday after entering a mosque in Baerum, an Oslo suburb, where three men were preparing for Sunday’s Eid al-Adha Muslim celebrations. Police said he was waving weapons and several shots were fired but did not specify what type of weapon was used. One person was slightly injured before people inside the Al-Noor Islamic Center held the suspect down until police arrived on the scene.

READ MORE: Norway police probe mosque shooting as possible act of terrorism

Story continues below advertisement

Police then raided Manshaus’ nearby house and found the body of his 17-year-old stepsister. He is also suspected in her killing, police said, but did not provide details.

The head of Norway’s domestic security agency said Monday officials had received a “vague” tip a year ago about the suspect, but it was not sufficient to act because officials had no information about any “concrete plans” of attack.

Hans Sverre Sjoevold, head of Norway’s PST agency, told a news conference that the agency and the police receive many tips from worried people every day and the information “didn’t go in the direction of an imminent terror planning.”

WATCH: Mosque worshiper says he wrestled Norway gunman, disarmed him

Click to play video: 'Mosque worshiper says he wrestled Norway gunman, disarmed him'
Mosque worshiper says he wrestled Norway gunman, disarmed him

The suspect’s lawyer declined to comment on Norwegian media reports that Manshaus was inspired by shootings in March in New Zealand, where a gunman killed 51 people, and on Aug. 3 in El Paso, Texas, which left at least 22 dead.

Story continues below advertisement

The suspect smiled as he appeared in court Monday with dark bruises under both eyes and scratches across his face and neck. Police had said that he was prepared to cause deaths and more injuries but didn’t succeed because people inside the mosque helped neutralize him.

READ MORE: Canada adds neo-Nazi groups Blood & Honour, Combat 18 to list of terror organizations

Dagbladet, one of Norway largest newspapers, reported that on day of the attack, Manshaus wrote online he had been “chosen” by “Saint (Brenton) Tarrant,” the Christchurch gunman.

The name of the Oslo mosque is similar to the one in the New Zealand attacks.

Prosecutors want him held on terror charges for four weeks.

WATCH: Plans for gun megastore in Christchurch angers community

Click to play video: 'Plans for gun megastore in Christchurch angers community'
Plans for gun megastore in Christchurch angers community

Prime Minister Erna Solberg called the attempted attack a “direct attack on Norwegian Muslims.”

Story continues below advertisement

The suspect’s thwarted plans recall those of the Norwegian right-wing extremist who in 2011 killed 77 people in 2011. Anders Behring Breivik is serving a 21-year prison sentence for carrying out a terror attack.

Sponsored content