A masked man wielding a sword or a knife killed a teacher and a student in an attack at a school in the Swedish town of Trollhattan on Thursday before being fatally shot by police, authorities said.
Two other people — another teacher and another student — were wounded in the attack on the Kronan primary and middle school. The injured were reported to be in serious condition at the hospital in Trollhattan, hospital officials said.
“This is a dark day for Sweden,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said. “My thoughts go out to the victims and their families, pupils and staff, and the entire community that has been affected. There are no words to describe what they are going through right now.”
Law enforcement officials said the suspect was shot at the scene by police and died later in the hospital.
‘We were pretty shocked’
A student identified as Edona told Sweden’s TV4 that when students first saw the man, who was wearing a mask and black clothes, they thought it was a Halloween joke.
He was “walking like a soldier, kind of, with a sword in his hand,” the student said.
But when the man began attacking, the students reacted with horror.
“We were pretty shocked, all of us,” Edona added.
Police: ‘We fired two shots’
“We received an alarm call just after 10 o’clock that a masked man in his 20s had entered the school … carrying knife-like weapons in his hands, attacking students and adults at the school,” said police spokesman Thomas Fuxborg. “We fired two shots, one of which hit and incapacitated the man so that we could arrest him.”
Fuxborg said officers found an injured man outside the entrance of the school and a dead man just inside.
On the second floor, officers found two students who had been wounded in the attack, Fuxborg said.
Police evacuated the school, authorities said.
Trollhattan is about 420 kilometers (260 miles) west-southwest of Stockholm, the Swedish capital.
Sweden has laws regulating gun ownership. The gunpolicy.org website, which works to prevent gun injuries, estimates that the rate of gun ownership in the country, both legal and illegal, is 31.61 firearms per 100 people. As a comparison, the number of guns per 100 people in the U.S. is reported by the site to be 101.