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CRIME

UPDATED: What we know about the school stabbing in Malmö

A pupil at Malmö Latin, an upper secondary school in Sweden, fatally injured two female members of staff on Monday night. Here's what we know so far.

Flowers lain outside Malmö Latinskola on Tuesday, with the message 'teachers are the most important'.
Flowers lain outside Malmö Latinskola on Tuesday, with the message 'teachers are the most important'. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

What do we know about the attacker? 

The perpetrator was an 18-year-old pupil at the school, who had previously been taught by one of the teachers who he attacked. Police have searched his house in Trelleborg and are also going through data retrieved from his mobile phone. He has no previous convictions and has not previously come to the police’s attention.  

According to the Aftonbladet newspaper, he was withdrawn and antisocial and spent most of his time playing computer games, drawing and working out at the gym. 

However, according to the Aftonbladet newspaper, teachers had previously expressed concern about his strange behaviour, and his case was frequently discussed by school psychologists and with the headteacher. 

Although he often received top marks, he reacted with such extreme anger if he didn’t get the marks he felt he deserved, that teachers last year expressed fears that he might carry out an attack.

“He smashed his head into the wall and was extremely frustrated,” said one teacher. 

In the day running up to the attack, the young man had alarmed teachers with strange questions about “self-defence”, and behaved so strangely at an art lesson that the teachers alerted the school’s nurse and counsellor.  

What do we know about the motive? 

The young man had his first interview with police at 3pm on Tuesday, in which he explained his motive and how he had prepared the attack. 

Elison told the Sydsvenksan newspaper that the young man had given a “very detailed, very precise” description of how he had prepared for the attack and what he was thinking at the time.

Elison told Aftonbladet that the man’s motive was “hard to grasp”, that he had not prepared the attack a long time in advance and was now suffering “extreme anxiety”.

“There was a certain level of preparation of course, but not a particularly long one,” he said.

Aftonbladet newspaper reported that when the man had called the emergency services he had said that he had done it “because he hated them”.  

Police on Tuesday would not say whether they believed the attack was connected in any way to the other two recent school stabbings in Skåne, Sweden’s most southern county. 

In August 2021, a 15-year-old boy attacked a teacher with a knife at a school in Eslöv, dressed in a helmet and a bullet-proof vest. A 16-year-old boy then in January this year stabbed a pupil and a teacher at an upper-secondary school in Kristianstad. Police have described the two boys as “best friends”. 

What do we know about the victims? 

Both of the victims were teachers at the school, and both were in their 50s. So far, neither the police nor the school have revealed their identities. 

A fellow teacher described one of the murdered teachers as “very dedicated and enthusiastic, and a very lively and happy person”, and the second as “very knowledgeable and well prepared”. 

A pupil told the Sydsvenskan newspaper that one of the teachers was “the finest person I have ever met”. 

What happened during the attack? 

Police have not given any details on what the teachers or the attacker were doing in the period leading up to the attack. The attacker was armed with a knife, an axe, and a hammer. 

The attacker himself made the emergency call at 17:12 on Monday evening, and at 17:22 police had already located him, together with his two victims, on the third floor of the school’s main building. 

Police sent out ten police cars and several ambulances in case of further attacks, shut Admiralsgatan, one of Malmö’s main roads, for several blocks around the school, and cordoned off a large area in front of the school. 

The pupils and staff at the school were then made to stay in offices and classrooms, while officers from the Swedish police’s National Task Force searched the buildings to check that there were no other attackers. Pupils and staff were then kept a little longer at the school while police officers took witness statements.

Forensic technicians were collecting evidence at the school late into Monday evening. 

What was happening at the school at the time of the attack? 

Most of the pupils had already gone home, so there were only about 50 people inside the building at the time of the attack. Many of those still in the school were rehearsing for the Latinspexet, a comedy sketch and variety show the pupils arrange every year.

The show was due to have its opening night on March 25th. Others were playing sports, such as basketball. 

Between 4pm and 5pm, the attacker had attended a criminology lecture given by a local lawyer, at which he asked a question about the socio-economic factors behind crime.

What are the police doing now? 

Police are interviewing the friends, family, teachers and colleagues of the attacker, searching his house, phone and computer, and collecting witness statements. 

What is happening at the school now? 

The school is closed, but the education department in Malmö has organised a crisis leadership group, which is arranging counselling and support for pupils, both at Malmö Latinskola and at other schools in the city.

The city has also arranged a meeting place where pupils can come to talk about what happened and receive support. 

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CRIME

Gang violence tops voter concerns ahead of Swedish election

Gang shootings have escalated and spread across Sweden in recent years, with authorities struggling to contain the war-like violence that now tops voters' concerns ahead of Sunday's general election.

Gang violence tops voter concerns ahead of Swedish election

“This is my son, Marley, when he was 19 years old”, Maritha Ogilvie tells AFP, holding a framed photo of a smiling young man, one of many that adorn the walls of her Stockholm apartment.

“He was shot in the head sitting in a car with a friend”, says the 51-year-old. The killing, on March 24, 2015 in Vårby gård, a disadvantaged concrete
suburb southwest of Stockholm, has never been resolved and the case was closed 10 months later.

Murders like these are usually settlings of scores between rival gangs often controlled by immigrant clans, according to police, and are increasingly taking place in public places in broad daylight.

The violence is primarily attributed to battles over the drug and weapons market and personal vendettas.

It has escalated to the point where Sweden — one of the richest and most egalitarian countries in the world — now tops the European rankings for fatal
shootings.

According to a report published last year by the National Council for Crime Prevention, among 22 countries with comparable data, only Croatia had more
deadly shootings, and no other country posted a bigger increase than Sweden in the past decade.

Shopping mall execution

Despite various measures introduced by the Social Democratic government to crack down on the gangs — including tougher prison sentences and boosting police resources — the number of dead and injured continues to mount.

Since January 1, 48 people have been killed by firearms in Sweden, three more than in all of 2021. There are also frequent bombings of homes and cars and grenade attacks.

For the first time, crime has dislodged the usual welfare state issues of health care and education and is one of Swedes’ main concerns in Sunday’s election.

While the violence was once contained to locations frequented by criminals, it has now spread to public spaces, sparking concern among ordinary Swedes in a country long known as safe and peaceful. On August 19, a 31-year-old man identified as a gang leader in Sweden’s third biggest city Malmö was gunned down in the Emporia shopping centre, several months after the death of his brother.

A 15-year-old was arrested for the murder.

A week later, a young woman and her son were wounded by stray bullets as they played in a park in Eskilstuna, a quiet town of 67,000 people west of
Stockholm.

The right-wing opposition, led by the conservative Moderates and the far-right Sweden Democrats who hope to wrest power from the Social Democrats,
have vowed to restore “law and order”. Defending the left from allegations of laxism, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has promised a “national offensive” against the scourge which poses “a threat to all of Sweden”.

‘Parallel societies’

According to Andersson, the escalating crime numbers are due to the emergence of “parallel societies” following “too much immigration and too little integration”.

Jacob Fraiman, an ex-gangster who now helps other criminals leave that life behind, says even he is shocked by the level of violence.

“I’m from another generation, obviously we had weapons too. But it wasn’t often you had to shoot someone”, he tells AFP in Södertälje, an industrial town south of Stockholm with a large immigrant population. “You used to shoot someone in the legs. Now, they’re told to shoot in the head”, he says.

At the police station in Rinkeby, one of Stockholm’s disadvantaged suburbs, 26-year-old patrol cop Michael Cojocaru says he and his colleagues regularly encounter brutal violence reminiscent of war and seize assault weapons, grenades and explosives.

“You’ll see wounds, people who’ve been shot with AK47s, who’ve been stabbed, people who have war wounds”, he tells AFP. “It’s like a totally different society … another type of Sweden”.

Experts attribute the escalating violence to a series of factors, including segregation, integration and economic difficulties for immigrants, and a large
black market for weapons.

The recruitment of young teens into criminal gangs — who aren’t tried as adults if they get caught — is also a major concern.

Seven years later, Maritha Ogilvie is still trying to understand why her son was killed. “He was just a normal kid”.

“I don’t know what happened with our society. I don’t know how they lost control over certain areas, but they did”, she sighs. “And it keeps on getting
worse”.

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