The apparently unprovoked attack began at 7pm near Medborgarplatsen when the man chased a person with a knife. That person escaped but the man ran through the square to the underground station entrance where he stabbed a man in the throat.
The 35 year old boarded a train heading south and while it was between stations he attacked Tony Stankiewicz, 28, and his uncle, Dominique Jackiewicz, 42.
“We saw a guy get stabbed, and then the man came towards us,” said Stankiewicz to TV4.
“He cut me right in the face,” said Jackiewicz. “There was blood everywhere.”
The knifeman was said to be shouting, “I’m angry, I’m in a bad mood and I’ll do what I like.” According to Expressen, Stankiewicz then knocked the man down with a “powerful blow to the chest”.
“I held him there on the platform until the police came,” said Stankiewicz.
But he added that nobody else helped him, “even though there were several big chaps in the carriage”.
Police say there appears to have been no motive for the attack and that the victims were unconnected. The 35 year old, described by an eyewitness as “a Swedish guy”, was arrested by police at Skanstull station at 7.15pm.
“I would describe him as a person who probably has drug abuse problems – there’s much which points to there being drug and psychological problems involved,” said police superintendent Peter Matilainen to Dagens Nyheter.
The man who was stabbed in the throat was taken to Söder hospital where he underwent an operation overnight. Tony Stankiewicz and Dominique Jackiewicz were treated at the scene by ambulance personnel.
The incident is the latest in a string of attacks by mentally ill people over the last two years, and has raked up Swedes’ fears that the country’s system for dealing with such cases is inadequate.
In May 2003 a 50-year old man drove at high speed down a pedestrian street in Stockholm’s Gamla Stan, killing two and wounding sixteen. He had been in and out of psychiatric care for the past couple of years.
Earlier that month a 34-year old young man had run amok in Åkeshov, violently chasing innocent rush hour travellers with an iron bar. He killed one, and wounded many others. An hour before the attack he had asked the police to drive him to a drug dependency unit, but he was denied treatment because of staff shortages.
Then on September 10th 2003 Mijailo Mijailovic, who also had a long history of psychiatric problems, stabbed Sweden’s foreign minister Anna Lindh in a Stockholm department store. The following day a man who had heard the news about the Lindh attack killed a 5 year old girl.
In March 2005 Anders Milton, the man the government has asked to reform Sweden’s psychiatric care system, told The Local that “preferably you want to use as little involuntary treatment as possible.”
“On the other hand, you also have to realise that in some instances you need it. You have to be good hearted but not naïve,” he said at the time.
“Some people will need to be locked up, maybe for a short time, because they are dangerous to themselves or to others.”