Trollhattan, Sweden: Man in 'Star Wars' Mask Attacks School with Sword; 2 dead

Trollhattan, Sweden: Man in ‘Star Wars’ Mask Attacks School with Sword; 2 dead

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 later of gunshot wounds inflicted by police who rushed to the scene, authorities said.

The teacher died at the school and a student succumbed later at a hospital, according to officials.

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 around 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.”

Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf says the Scandinavian country “is in shock” following the stabbings. In a statement, the king said Thursday the royal family had received the news “with great dismay and sadness.”

The incident erupted at mid-morning in a cafe section of the  school, which serves around 500 students ranging from pre-school to high school. The attacker appeared in the hallway wearing black and wearing a Darth Vader-like mask from Star War.

Haraldsson told a news conference that the masked attacker knocked on the doors to two classrooms and stabbed the people who opened the doors.

Laith Alazze, a 14 year-old student, told Sweden’s TV4. that at first he thought the masked man had something to do with Halloween.

The newspaper Dagens Nyheter published a photo showing 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.

At least four were injured initially, including an 11-year-old and 15-year-old, Niklas Claesson, head of communications at the NU Hospital Group, told the Expressen newspaper.

Thomas Fuxborg, police spokesman in Gotaland, said the attacker wore an 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,” Expressen reported.

Police spokesman Haraldsson said the assailant was not known to police but that police had searched his home and found things “that are interesting for the investigation.”

Swedish news agency TT reported there was “considerable confusion” about the sequence of events, but that the attack took place in a cafe located on the grounds of the school around 10 a.m. local time. Swedish media said the school held a meeting Thursday morning to discuss teachers’ concerns that the school was too open, with a cafe for adults that meant the school could not control who comes in, the Associated Press reported. The Dagens Nyheternewspaper said students must go through the cafe to reach the school’s own cafeteria and other parts of the building. Meanwhile, in the town of Hortlax, about 500 miles north of Stockholm, police cordoned off a local school Thursday afternoon after a man was seen cycling nearby swinging an ax, Aftonbladet reported.

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