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Masked man shot after fatal stabbing of teacher at Swedish school

Onlookers stand outside a cordoned area after the attack. Photograph: Tt News Agency/Reuters

Attacker carrying ‘knife-like object’ kills teacher and seriously injures at least four pupils at school in Trollhättan before he is shot by police.

A masked man stabbed to death a teacher and seriously injured at least four pupils at a school in south-west Sweden, before he was shot by police.

The attacker is being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds, according to reports. There were conflicting reports on whether he was carrying a sword or a knife.

The man, said to be in his 20s, entered the school in Trolhättan, an industrial city near Gothenburg, at around 10am on Thursday. Students locked themselves in classrooms and cupboards to escape the attacker.

Police spokesman Thomas Fuxborg told the Associated Press the attacker carried more than one weapon, including “at least one knife-like object”. Fuxborg said police fired two shots, one of which hit the attacker.
“When we first saw him we thought it was a joke. He had a mask and black clothes and a long sword. There were students who wanted to go with him and hold the sword,” a student told Swedish media.

Some witnesses said the attacker was wearing a Star Wars mask. Others took it to be a Halloween prank.

A statement from the hospital said: “We have four seriously injured patients. All are in surgery right now. One is a teacher and two are students. One is 11 and one 15 years old. They have knife wounds. One of the injured is the suspected culprit. He is being operated on for gunshot wounds. A teacher died at the scene.”

Media reports showed scenes of mayhem at the school, with hundreds of people on the street, screaming children, and a large number of police and ambulances.

“Four persons have been taken to the hospital from the school,” said Niklas Claesson, the head of communications at NAL hospital in Trollhättan.

“The assailant is being treated for gunshot wounds. The other people treated at the hospital are young but not kids. Some of them have serious injuries and are being operated on. One person is deceased at the scene.”

A teenager at the school told TheLocal.se: “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.”

Police said they still did not know the identity of the attacker, or whether he was a local man. The Swedish prime minister, Stephen Löfven, said he was travelling to Trollhättan on Thursday afternoon.

There is a tense debate over immigration and asylum in Sweden, with the far-right seeking to exploit incidents of violence involving immigrants. In August, a failed asylum seeker stabbed two people to death in an Ikea store near Stockholm, causing a storm of outrage. There has been a spate of apparent arson attacks on refugee accommodation in the past week.

Two hours before the attack in Trollhättan, officials announced that Sweden was expecting to receive as many as 190,000 refugees this year – twice previous estimates.

The attack took place in Kronogården, a disadvantaged area where more than half the population were born abroad. Trolhättan has been named by researchers the most highly segregated city in Sweden, with immigrants concentrated in Kronogården.

School attacks are rare in Sweden. Since a shooting incident at a school near Gothenburg in 1961, when six young people were injured and one died, there have been no such attacks, although police say they foiled a planned school shooting in Malmö in 2004, and threats of violence have occurred elsewhere.

Kronogården was among 38 neighbourhoods named as Sweden’s most vulnerable in a report on “forgotten suburbs” this month.

“These suburbs are big trouble and you cannot say that Sweden is an integrated country. We have used these suburbs as a repository for those that do not fit into normal society,” said the report’s author, Jan Edling.

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