A sword-wielding man wearing what witnesses describe as a "Darth Vader-like" mask attacked several people at a school in Trolhättan, Sweden, a town of 50,000 around 50 miles north of the country's second-largest city Gothenburg. According to authorities, two victims have died while two more remain in critical condition. Swedish police "seriously wounded" the attacker at the scene.
Authorities have not confirmed the identities of the dead, but The Guardian reports one is believed to be a student and the other a teacher at Kronans Elementary School.
According to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, several students approached the the 21-year-old attacker before his rampage began, even posing for pictures. However, one 14-year-old witness, identified only as Laith, said that once people realized the sword was real, they ran from the man.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven immediately traveled to the scene in Trolhättan, telling the assembled press:
This is a black day for Sweden. 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.
According to the USA Today, Kronans elementary school serves 400 students between pre-school and high school. The school also has a cafe, open to the public, which may have provided the attacker entrance into the school. Ironically, the school reportedly had a staff meeting Thursday morning to discuss concern over whether the cafe made the school "too open."
One student who witnessed the scene described the attack to TheLocal.se:
One of my classmates’ sisters called her to warn her that there was a murderer at the school. So we locked the door to the classroom, but our teacher was still outside in the corridor. We wanted to warn him, so a few of us went outside and then I saw the murderer, he was wearing a mask and had a sword. Our teacher got stabbed. The murderer started chasing me, I ran into another classroom. If I had not run, I would have been murdered.
According to The Guardian, this is the first incident of mass violence at a Swedish school since 1961.
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