Europe

Sweden sword attack: Two killed by masked attacker

  • 22 October 2015
  • From the section Europe
This picture made available to AFP by a student shows the masked man armed with a sword posing for a photo with two other students before attacking students and staff in Trollhattan, southwestern Sweden, on October 22, 2015. Image copyright AFP
Image caption The suspect apparently posed for photos with pupils ahead of the attack

A masked man armed with a sword has killed a pupil and a teacher at a school in Sweden.

The suspect, clad in black, apparently posed for photos with students ahead of the attack, in the western town of Trollhattan.

Two further victims, a pupil and a teacher, are seriously injured. The attacker was shot by police and has died of his injuries. He was 21 and resident in Trollhattan, police said.

The king has said Sweden "is in shock".

Eyewitnesses described chaos at the school, with hundreds of students fleeing from the building screaming.

Media captionMaddy Savage, an editor at The Local Sweden, says police are looking into claims that the attacker had links with the far right in Sweden

Police responded to an emergency call reporting an attack in the cafe area of the Kronan school, at around 10:10 local time (08:10 GMT) on Thursday.

Arriving at the scene, they found a dead man - a teacher - near the entrance.

Two male students and another teacher were rushed to hospital. One of the boys, aged 17, has since died of his injuries.

The other pupil, who is 15, and the teacher, a 41-year-old man, are being treated in intensive care for knife injuries. Their condition is described as serious but stable by the hospital.

The attacker was also taken to hospital with gunshot wounds and has since died.

Police have said several knives were used in the attack.

Officers have identified the suspect but not released his name. They have searched the suspect's home and have found "interesting" things, spokesman Thord Haraldsson told a news conference.

He was not previously known to police, he said.

Asked about possible links to far-right extremism, Mr Haraldsson refused to comment, Swedish radio reports.

Local media have reported that the suspect's accounts on Facebook and YouTube suggest an interest in Hitler and Nazi Germany. In a photo given to media by a student at the school, he appears to be wearing a black trench coat and a helmet resembling those worn by German troops in World War Two.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The school has around 400 children from kindergarten up till the age of 16

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet published an account (in Swedish) of a girl, who they refer to as Sara, who witnessed the attack.

The girl left her classroom and met two school friends who stood with a masked man holding a bloody knife, she said. He was playing "horrible, Halloween-type" music and did not speak, she said.

Her friends thought it was a joke and wanted to be photographed with the man, so Sara took a photo, Aftonbladet reports.

A teacher came out and asked the man what he was doing, the girl said.

"You're scaring the children, you can go," the teacher said.

The man just nodded then stabbed the teacher in the side with his knife, Sara said.

She and her friends ran. The man chased them but they managed to escape.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Sweden's PM Stefan Lofven visited the school on Thursday afternoon
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Candles were lit outside the school to commemorate the victims
Image copyright AFP
Image caption There was confusion at the school in the aftermath of the attack
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police have searched the house where the suspected attacker lived

King Carl Gustaf said in a statement that he had learned of the events in Trollhattan "with great dismay and sorrow".

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has arrived in the town, and said it was a "black day for Sweden".

"I think of the victims and their families, students and staff, and the whole of the affected community. No words can describe what they are going through right now. We must ensure that they receive all the support they need," he said.

Trollhattan is an industrial town in west Sweden, located around 75km (50 miles) north of Gothenburg, the nation's second largest city.

School attacks are rare in Sweden - with just one incident on record in the past 20 years, in which one pupil was shot dead.

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