• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Trollhättan school attack
Swedish police: don't wear Halloween masks
An anti-racism demonstration at Kronan school. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Swedish police: don't wear Halloween masks

TT/AFP/The Local · 23 Oct 2015, 17:04

Published: 23 Oct 2015 07:16 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Oct 2015 17:04 GMT+02:00

Officers were called out on several occasions on Friday after people dressed up in Halloween outfits and carrying toy guns and swords were mistaken for serious threats, just a day after a masked 21-year-old walked into a school in Trollhättan and stabbed two people to death with a sword.

In Östersund, 10 police arrived at a school within three minutes after being called out after a teacher saw a person with a sword entering the building. Meanwhile a masked teenager believed to have been threatening other pupils with a "gun-like object" at a school in Katrineholm was arrested.

And in Gothenburg terrified commuters called the police after they spotted a man in military clothes and "carrying several weapons" on the tram. Eight officers stormed the carriage only to realize their suspect was no more than a Halloween reveller.

Martin Lundin, national police officer, later told the TT news agency that it is often difficult to tell a toy weapon from a real weapon at a distance, and warned that people in fancy dress could even be putting themselves at risk.

"If you don't follow police directions, which happens easily if you don't understand how serious it is because you're only joking, it can get dangerous. There is a real risk to be injured yourself if you behave in a threatening manner," Lundin said.

READ ALSO: Who was Sweden's far-right school killer?

Earlier in the day, an anti-racism demonstration took place outside the Kronan school after police confirmed to Swedish media at a press conference in Trollhättan that they believe the attacker had racist motives.

Chief Investigator Thord Haraldsson said that the man had been violent towards people with "dark skin" and had spoken to others with "light skin" whom he did not hurt.

He said that officers had reached this conclusion after examining CCTV footage from the school.

In a separate earlier statement, police press spokesperson Peter Adlersson told the TT news agency that “how he was dressed and how he behaved” had also played a role in helping detectives to reach their conclusion.

Haraldsson also revealed that his officers had found "a type of suicide letter" at the attacker's home.

However he remained unsure whether the assailant had chosen to attack the Kronan school specifically because it has a high percentage of immigrant pupils, but said "you could suspect" that was the reason.


Thord Haraldsson at the police press conference. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

Police said at the press conference on Friday that they were convinced that the attacker had planned the violence alone.

Story continues below…

Haraldsson said his outfit suggested Nazism and revealed that CCTV pictures also showed him marching through the school corridors in a military style brandishing a sword.

The assailant killed a teacher and a 17-year-old student. Police shot him at the scene and he later died from his injuries.

Some pupils at the school said they initially thought it was a prank and even took pictures with the attacker. One of those photos was widely circulated on social media on Thursday before being published in Sweden's leading tabloid and broadsheet newspapers.

Meanwhile, hospital spokespeople in the region confirmed on Friday morning that a 15-year-old teenager who was also injured in the attack remained in hospital but that his condition had improved.

"He has been awake and has been able to speak. The situtation is considered to be stable," Ulrika Jifland told TT.

Trollhättan, where the attack took place, is an industrial town in western Sweden with around 50,000 residents.
 
Like many municipalities in Sweden, it is taking in rising numbers of immigrants. According to Statistics Sweden, 3,046 foreigners moved there in 2014. But it is not a nationally notorious hotspot for violent or race-related crimes.
 
However, in a 2012 national survey when people were asked to rate how safe they felt during evenings and nights on a scale of one to ten, Trollhättan scored 5.1 compared with a national average of 6.5. When questioned about how much they feared threats, robbery or violence, the score was 5.1, in contrast to a 6.4 average for Sweden.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Sweden to sizzle in the sun for a few more days
The beach at Båstad on Saturday. Photo: TT

The heatwave that hit most of Sweden last week is set to continue until Wednesday at least, according to Swedish weather forecaster, SMHI.

Swedish ex-prime minister Thorbjorn Fälldin dead at 90
Fälldin in 1981. Photo: TT/FLT-PICA

Thorbjorn Fälldin, the former farmer who became prime minister in Sweden's first non-Social Democratic government since World War II, has died at the age of 90.

Swedish police fear serial rapist on loose in Malmö
The attacker is thought to be in his mid-twenties and had been seen riding his bike in the area prior to the incident. Photo:TT

The rape of a 14-year-old girl in Malmö has led police to conjecture that there may be a serial rapist operating in the southern Swedish city.

Stockholm Pokémon hunter impaled on metal fence spike
Another Swede playing Pokémon Go in Stockholm. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

He tried to climb a fence to find more Pokémon.

Video
When Alicia Vikander taught us to put our pen in the bottle
Swedish actress Alicia Vikander and US talkshow host Jimmy Fallon. Photo: Tonight Show/NBC/Screenshot

We're not even sure if that's a euphemism or not.

Muslim man fired for not shaking women's hands
File photo of people shaking hands. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

A man is suing a local council in Sweden after he lost his job for refusing to shake hands with female colleagues.

Swedish bus driver who hit asylum seeker: 'I'm not racist'
The story has grabbed global headlines. Photo: Nobina

A Swedish bus driver caught on camera beating and kicking an asylum seeker has for the first time spoken to media.

Stay out, the water's filthy! Germs ruin Swedes' swims
Seagulls only.

Fancy a dip? If so, you might want to keep your mouth shut.

Man kicked off flight from Sweden over 'Isis tattoo'
A Norwegian plane at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

A flight from Stockholm was delayed on Thursday after it was claimed that one of the passengers had an Isis flag tattooed on his arm.

Homes
In pictures: Are Swedes falling in love with colour at last?
What happened to the Swedish greyscale? Photo: Linda Åhman

Antonia Wiklund of Houzz.se investigates why the Swedes are abandoning their sleek and clean interior design for vibrant colours.

Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Blog updates

14 July

Boris Johnson: why Britain’s new foreign minister is cordially loathed (Globally Local) »

"There are lots of things to say about Boris Johnson, Britain’s new foreign secretary. He is…" READ »

 

11 July

Swedish quizzes (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I have created some quizzes you can take online to test your Swedish skills. Here…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
Politics
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
Gallery
Property of the week: Smedjebacken, Dalarna
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
Politics
WATCH: A very Swedish take on Brexit...
National
Swede's fury at Daily Mail's Bråvalla 'lies'
Gallery
People-watching: July 8th-10th
National
Sweden and Denmark trolled each other on Twitter and it's hilarious
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
National
ANALYSIS: Why Swedes are talking more about immigration than before
National
Watch Icelanders cheer their Swedish hero coach
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,336
jobs available