Wednesday, March 29

Police seek motive in deadly Sweden school attack | Sweden

Police in Sweden are attempting to determine why an 18-year-old student allegedly killed two teachers at a school in Malmö, as fresh details of the attack emerged.

The two victims, both women in their 50s, were teachers at Malmö Latin, a creative arts secondary school with more than 1,000 students in Sweden’s third-biggest city, police said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The suspect was arrested just 10 minutes after they were first alerted to the attack, putting up no resistance, the police chief, Petra Stenkula, said. According to a report in the Aftonbladet newspaper, the alleged attacker called emergency services to say where he was and that he had laid down his weapons from him, and confessed to the killings.

Police were alerted to the attack at 5.12pm local time (4.12pm GMT) and a first patrol was able to enter the school minutes later. His two victims were lying on the floor nearby, she added. The teachers were taken to hospital for treatment but their deaths were announced later in the evening.

About 50 students and teachers were inside at the time, and news footage showed heavily equipped and armed police inspecting the interior of the building.

Media reports said the suspect, whose name has not been disclosed, was armed with a knife and an axe, although police have not confirmed that information. Stenkula said police had seized “several weapons that are not firearms” at the scene.

Investigators are now trying to determine whether the suspect specifically targeted his victims or chose them at random, and whether he had planned to attack more people.

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“We don’t know yet if he had any connection to these employees,” Stenkula told reporters.

The student “has no criminal record”, she said, adding that the police were looking into his background and movements prior to the attack. Investigators were searching the suspect’s home in the nearby town of Trelleborg, she added.

The Swedish prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, expressed her sadness and consternation over the attack.

At the high school, which was closed on Tuesday with the Swedish flag flying at half-mast, a support group has been set up for teachers and students, local authorities said.

“Everyone is deeply shocked. Devastated,” a teacher at the school who didn’t want to be identified told AFP on Tuesday. “It’s an awful crime; it’s impossible to take it all in,” she said, standing outside the school where a group of about 20 students stood hugging and crying, some with flowers to lay down on the ground.

“It’s so sad that it happened here, in the place where I and many other students feel safest. It’s a warm and loving school”, 18-year-old student Lydia Cronberg said.

“It’s not like before… It will be hard to come back, to have a memorial ceremony. We’re going to take it one day at a time,” she said.

School attacks are relatively rare in Sweden but several serious incidents have taken place at schools in southern Sweden in recent months.

In January, a 16-year-old was arrested after wounding another student and a teacher with a knife at a school in the small town of Kristianstad.

That incident was linked to a similar knife attack in August 2021 in the town of Eslov, about 30 miles away, when a student attacked a 45-year-old school employee.

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No link has been established between those two events and the Malmö attack.

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