Sweden school killings: Attacker ‘had racist motives’


A masked man who killed a teacher and a pupil at a school in Sweden had “racist motives”, police believe.

Police chief Niclas Hallgren said they had based their conclusion on what was found at the killer’s apartment and “his behaviour during the act”.

Media reports suggest the 21-year-old attacker had far-right sympathies.


Armed with a sword and wearing a helmet and mask, he stormed a school in Trollhattan, near Gothenburg, before being shot dead by police.

He was seen posing for a photograph with students, who thought he was dressed for Halloween, before going from classroom to classroom at the Kronan School.

A teacher and 17-year-old boy died from stab wounds, while another male student, 15, and 41-year-old teacher remain in serious condition in hospital.


The attacker’s name has not yet been released by police, though they say he was local to Trollhattan.

Sweden has reacted with shock to the killings. Before visiting the scene of the attack, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said it was a “black day” for the country.

“School is supposed to be the place for learning, play and curiosity and friendship and therefore this is a tragedy that affects the whole country,” Mr Lofven told reporters.

King Carl Gustaf said he was “in shock” and that he had learned of the events in Trollhattan “with great dismay and sorrow”.

Dozens of people gathered outside the school building on Thursday evening to pay their respects to the victims and place flowers and candles on the ground.

Some residents of the town who were holding a vigil held up posters that read “why kill?”

‘A loner’

Swedish media reports say the suspect’s accounts on Facebook and YouTube suggest he had an interest in Hitler and Nazi Germany, as well as hostility to Islam and immigration.

Police commander Hallgren told Swedish public service radio: “We are convinced that the assailant was driven by racist motives when he carried out the act.

“We have reached this conclusion based on what we found when we searched his apartment and his behaviour during the act, and also on the basis of how he selected his victims.”

Police have said the suspect was not previously known to them.

“He was a loner. He played video games, lived in his own world,” a former classmate told Sweden’s daily Expressen.

Eyewitnesses described scenes of chaos, with the attacker knocking on the doors of at least two classrooms and attacking two male students who opened them. One of the boys later succumbed to his injuries.

None of the victims have been identified by police.

Laith Alazze, 14, told Sweden’s TV4 that one of his friends walked over to the assailant to challenge him “but when we saw he stabbed [the teacher], we ran away”.

Another student told the same station that the attacker, who along with the mask was clad in black, “walked sort of like a soldier with a sword in his hand”.

Police were alerted to the attack at around 10:10 local time (08:10 GMT) on Thursday, and later gunned down the attacker in the hallway outside a classroom.

The Kronan school has about 400 students aged between six and 15, including many children of immigrants.

Trollhattan is an industrial town in west Sweden, located about 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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