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Norway attack: Youth camp official plays dead to survive shooting

Adrian Pracon, 21, an official with the Worker's Youth League, describes a "cool and controlled" gunman "systematically" shooting fleeing campers in the attack near Oslo.

July 23, 2011|Ann M. Simmons | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
  • A search and rescue team boat passes by covered bodies of victims from the summer camp organized by the ruling Labor Party on Utoeya, an island outside the capital.
A search and rescue team boat passes by covered bodies of victims from the… (Kristoffer Oeverli Andersen/AFP/Getty…)

A man described Saturday how he played dead in order to survive the shooting spree of a gunman who pretended to be a police officer but then opened fired on youth at a camp on an island near Oslo.

Adrian Pracon, 21, an official with the Worker's Youth League, told the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten that he was on his way to a kiosk on Utoya Island, where the annual camp was being held, to buy chocolate and potato chips when he heard the ruckus.

"I did not realize that it was a shot at first, but then people started to run," Pracon, 21, told Aftenposten.

Photos: A sudden, deadly attack

Many of the youth fled in panic across a clearing trying to reach their tents, Pracon said. But the gunman, who was "cool and controlled," went around "systematically" shooting those in the tents, and others who ran down to the water, Pracon told the newspaper. "It was as though he had done this kind of thing before, as if going round and shooting people was totally normal," Pracon said. "He said, 'You're all going to die.' "

Pracon said he and others gathered at the water's edge hoping that help would come. But the attacker tracked them down.

"He shot everyone in the group, one by one," the youth league leader told Aftenposten. "I lay on the ground and played dead. He came up to check that everyone was dead. He ? was so close that I felt the warmth of his weapon."

Pracon recalled how the last shot grazed his shoulder. The blast of the gun temporarily left him deaf in one ear, and "the pain came later," he told the newspaper.

The youth league leader and other distraught youngsters were saved when three real police officers arrived at the scene, Pracon said.

Photos: A sudden, deadly attack

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