Norwegian Killer’s Father: ‘He Should Have Taken His Own Life’

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — The estranged father of the anti-immigrant extremist arrested for the mass killing in Norway said in an interview published Monday that he was shocked and despondent over the news and that his son “should have taken his own life, too.”

The suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, 32, has admitted to detonating a deadly car bomb in downtown Oslo and shooting dozens of people, some as young as 16, at a youth camp run by Norway’s governing Socialist Party about 19 miles away. The attacks on Friday, which police say left at least 76 people dead, amount to one of the worst mass killings in postwar Europe.

Mr. Breivik’s father, Jens David Breivik, is a retired career diplomat who divorced the suspect’s mother more than 30 years ago. In the interview, published on the Web site of the Swedish tabloid Expressen, he said that he and his current wife, who live in southern France, had heard news bulletins about the massacre and were stupefied when they saw his son pictured and identified as the person responsible on Norwegian Web sites.

“I was in utter shock,” the father said. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was paralyzing and I couldn’t understand that this was real. I knew it wasn’t April Fools’ Day, and wondered if this really could be possible.”

“I feel awful,” he said. “I am deeply sorry over this situation. It’s awful for me personally, but it is also tragic for the whole country.”

Expressen said the elder Mr. Breivik often fell silent during what it described as a two-hour interview.

“How could he stand there and kill so many innocent people and just seem to think that everything was as it should be?” he asked at one point. “That it could be like that? He should have taken his own life, too. That’s what he should have done.”

The father worked for the Norwegian Foreign Ministry as a diplomat form 1965 to 1996. He was stationed at the Norwegian embassies in London and Tehran, among other places.

“I am dragged into this whether I want to or not,” he said. “I’m his father. I hope that people will understand that I have nothing to do with this.” He also said he was concerned that vengeance seekers might target him, even though he and his wife live far from Norway. He said it would be difficult for him to ever visit Norway again.

“There are other crazy people in the world,” he said. “I’m worried, I am. You never know what someone can do.”

When his parents divorced in 1980, Anders Behring Breivik was only a few years old. His father lived in London, while he and his mother were in Oslo.

The father’s globetrotting life was one reason they spoke so rarely during Anders Behring Breivik’s childhood, the father said.

“We haven’t been in touch in 16 years, since 1995. He was very difficult. He always wanted to go his own way and he hasn’t had a big need for contact with me,” said the father.

Asked how he would describe his son while he was growing up, the father answered: “He was like most boys. We never really had a good father-son relationship. We were both pretty closed. He visited me once in a while when he was little.”

Asked what it feels like to be Anders’ father, he answered: “I don’t feel like his father.

Source: New York Timesbreivik

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