SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

Police in Sweden seek motive behind Malmö school attack

Police in Sweden were on Tuesday attempting to determine why an 18-year-old student allegedly killed two teachers at a high school a day earlier in an attack that has shaken the country.

Pupils hug outside Malmö Latin on Tuesday
Pupils hug outside Malmö Latin on Tuesday. Photo. Johan Nilsson/TT

The two victims, both women in their 50s, were teachers at Malmo Latin, a large high school in Sweden’s third-biggest city, police said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Media reports said the suspect, whose name has not been disclosed, was armed with a knife and an axe, though police have not confirmed that information.

Police chief Petra Stenkula said police had seized “several weapons that are not firearms” at the scene.

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

“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 police were looking into his background and movements prior to the attack. Investigators were on Tuesday searching the suspect’s home in the nearby town of Trelleborg, she added.

Police were alerted to the attack at 5:12 pm and a first patrol was able to enter the school minutes later. 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.

READ ALSO: Two female teachers stabbed to death by pupil at Malmö school

Recent attacks

The suspect was arrested on the third floor just 10 minutes after the first alert, putting up no resistance, Stenkula said. His two victims were lying on the floor nearby, she added. The teachers were rushed to hospital for treatment but their deaths were announced later in the evening.

According to daily Aftonbladet, the alleged attacker called emergency services to say where he was and that he had laid down his weapons, and confessed to the killings.

READ ALSO: What we know about the school stabbing in Malmö

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on Tuesday expressed her “sadness” and “consternation” over the attack.

At the high school, which was closed on Tuesday, 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.

School attacks are relatively rare in Sweden, which has in recent years grown more accustomed to shootings and bombings in underworld settlings of scores that kill dozens of people each year.

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 50 kilometres (30 miles) away, when a student attacked a 45-year-old school employee.

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

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for deadly shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for deadly shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

SHOW COMMENTS