(OSLO, Norway) — As the U.S. continues to come to grips with the tragedy in Aurora, Colo., Norway spent Sunday observing the one year anniversary of its worst-ever mass shooting that left 77 people dead on July 22, 2011.
Most of the victims were young activists attending a summer camp sponsored by the Labour Party on the island of Utoeya. Earlier that day, accused killer Anders Behring Breivik also set off bombs in Oslo as a diversionary tactic, which killed several others. The injury toll from the entire shooting spree was put at 242.
Prime Minister Jen Stoltenberg led the day of mourning by first laying a wreath in Oslo where he told mourners, “It’s been a very heavy year for all of us. Not a day has passed the tragedy has not filled the room…The bomb and bullets were aimed at changing Norway. The Norwegian people responded by embracing our values.”
The prime minister then joined the families and friends of victims on Utoeya to pay their respects to the fallen. Other events in Norway included church services and a concert in which American singer Bruce Springsteen performed.
Breivik, who has never denied being the gunman, remains on trial. His rationale for the crime was to call attention to the proliferation of Muslims and other immigrants in Norway and Europe, claiming the continent was losing its national identity.
Since Norway does not have the death penalty, Breivik faces either a long prison term or treatment in a psychiatric ward depending on how the court judges his sanity.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Roshni Majumdar and Deborah Bloom, CNN Newswire
Jen Christensen, CNN Newswire