SWEDEN – A teacher and a student have died and three other people are seriously wounded in southern Sweden, where a young man in a star-wars mask and cape armed with a sword or knife attacked a school Thursday.
The attacker was shot by police and is at the same hospital as his victims.
A second teacher and two students — ages 11 and 15 — underwent surgery after suffering severe injuries, according to the NAL hospital in Trollhättan, where the attacks happened Thursday morning. One of those students died at the hospital. The suspect in the case also had surgery, the hospital says.
There have been conflicting reports about the type of weapon the attacker used. “Police spokesman Stefan Gustafsson said the attacker was in his twenties and used ‘several knife-like objects,’ ” according to Swedish news site The Local.
The attack took place around 10 a.m. local time in the cafeteria of the Kronan school, a primary school that’s situated in a cultural center. The building also includes a library.
“Around 400 pupils are understood to be taught at the school, aged between six and fifteen,” The Local reports.
According to Swedish media cited by the AP, the deadly attack came shortly after a discussion about “teachers’ worries that the school was too open, with a cafe for adults that meant the school could not control who comes in.” The report adds that the school has its own cafeteria — but that the students had to walk through the public cafe to reach it.
The attack set off chaos at the school, with a large police and emergency response. Photos from the scene show that one ambulance crashed into a wall in the parking area next to the cafe’s entrance.
A teenager who attends the school and witnessed part of the attack described the scene to The Local:
“I was in a classroom with my class when one of my classmates’ sisters called her to warn her that there was a murderer at the school. So we locked the door to the classroom, but our teacher was still outside in the corridor.
“We wanted to warn him, so a few of us went outside and then I saw the murderer, he was wearing a mask and had a sword. Our teacher got stabbed.
“The murderer started chasing me, I ran into another classroom. If I had not run, I would have been murdered. I’m feeling really scared. Everyone’s scared here.”
Responding to news of the attack, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven expressed his condolences for the victims and their families, saying, “This is a black day for Sweden.”
The BBC reports, “School attacks are rare in Sweden — this is the first since a shooting at a school in Kungalv near Gothenburg in 1961 which killed one person and injured six others.”
Update at 8:30 a.m. ET: Student Has Reportedly Died
One of the two boys who were wounded in the attack has died, according to Expressen reporter Carl Fridh Kleberg, citing local police.
The NAL hospital says one of the patients has been stabilized and is now in the intensive care unit; the rest remain in critical condition.
Sweden’s interior minister, Anders Ygeman, said on Twitter: “It is with sadness and dismay I received the news of the attack on the school in Trollhattan. My thoughts go to the victims and their families.”
Trollhättan is an industrial town in west Sweden, located around 75km (50 miles) north of Gothenburg, the nation’s second largest city.