A man wearing a Darth Vader-like mask and armed with a sword went on a rampage at a Swedish elementary school Thursday, killing a teacher and a student. The attacker died of gunshot wounds inflicted by police who rushed to the scene.
The teacher died at the school, and the student succumbed at a nearby hospital. Police spokesman Thord Haraldsson said the 21-year-old attacker was fatally shot in the chest by police who responded to the attack at the Kronan school in Trollhattan, near Goteborg, Sweden’s second-largest city. Trollhattan is about 260 miles west-southwest of Stockholm.
“This is a black day for Sweden,” said Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who rushed to Trollhattan, a town of about 50,000 people. “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.”
The newspaper Dagens Nyheter published a photo of two students posing with the perpetrator moments before the attack.
“One of my friends walked over to him to challenge him, but when we saw he stabbed him (the teacher), we ran away,” Alazze said. “We thought it was a joke”
Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf said the Scandinavian country “is in shock” after the stabbings. In a statement, the king said the royal family received the news “with great dismay and sadness.”
The incident took place midmorning in a cafe section of the school, which serves about 500 students ranging from preschool to high school. The attacker appeared in the hallway dressed in black and wearing a Darth Vader-like mask from Star Wars.
Haraldsson said the masked attacker knocked on the doors of two classrooms and stabbed people who opened them. Student Laith Alazze, 14, told Sweden’s TV4 that at first, he thought the masked man had something to do with Halloween.
At least four people were injured, including an 11-year-old and 15-year-old, Niklas Claesson, head of communication at the NU Hospital Group, told the Expressen newspaper.
Thomas Fuxborg, police spokesman in Gotaland, said the attacker wore a black mask and was armed with a sword and other knife-like weapons. He said the attacker “moved around inside the classrooms at the school,”
Haraldsson said the assailant was not known to authorities, and police searched his home and found things “that are interesting for the investigation.”