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According to the Aftonbladet newspaper, he was withdrawn and antisocial and spent most of his time playing computer games, drawing and working out at the gym.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

Swedish Green leader: ‘Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity’

The riots that rocked Swedish cities over the Easter holidays were nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, but instead come down to class, the joint leader of Sweden's Green Party has told The Local in an interview.

Swedish Green leader: 'Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity'

Ahead of a visit to the school in Rosengård that was damaged in the rioting, Märta Stenevi said that neither the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan, who provoked the riots by burning copies of the Koran, nor those who rioted, injuring 104 policemen, were ultimately motivated by religion. 

“His demonstration had nothing to do with religion or with Islam. It has everything to do with being a right extremist and trying to to raise a lot of conflict between groups in Sweden,” she said of Paludan’s protests. 

“On the other side, the police have now stated that there were a lot of connections to organised crime and gangs, who see this as an opportunity to raise hell within their communities.”

Riots broke out in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Stockholm, Norrköping, Linköping and Landskrona over the Easter holidays as a result of Paludan’s tour of the cities, which saw him burn multiple copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam. 

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More than 100 police officers were injured in the riots, sparking debates about hate-crime legislation and about law and order. 

According to Stenevi, the real cause of the disorder is the way inequality has increased in Sweden in recent decades. 

“If you have big chasms between the rich people and poor people in a country, you will also have a social upheaval and social disturbance. This is well-documented all across the world,” she says. 
 
“What we have done for the past three decades in Sweden is to create a wider and wider gap between those who have a lot and those who have nothing.” 

 
The worst way of reacting to the riots, she argues, is that of Sweden’s right-wing parties. 
 
“You cannot do it by punishment, by adding to the sense of outsider status, you have to start working on actually including people, and that happens through old-fashioned things such as education, and a proper minimum income, to lift people out of their poverty, not to keep them there.”

This, she says, is “ridiculous”, when the long-term solution lies in doing what Sweden did to end extreme inequality at the start of the 20th century, when it created the socialist folkhem, or “people’s home”. 

“It’s easy to forget that 100 to 150 years ago, Sweden was a developing country, with a huge class of poor people with no education whatsoever. And we did this huge lift of a whole nation. And we can do this again,” she says. “But it needs resources, it needs political will.” 
 
 
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