STOCKHOLM – A man wielding an ax attacked and injured eight people in a town in southern Sweden on Wednesday before being shot and arrested, police said. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said a possible terrorist motive was under investigation.
“In light of what has emerged so far in the police investigation, prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into terrorist crimes,” he said without giving further details.
Shortly after his statement, investigators at a police press conference said they had opened a preliminary investigation into an attempted murder, with details “which prompt us to investigate on terrorist grounds.”
“But at the moment, I cannot go into details,” said regional police chief Malena Grann. Police said the man, in his 20s, attacked residents of the small town of Vetlanda, about 190 km southeast of Goteborg, Sweden’s second largest city. His motive was not immediately known.
The man was shot dead by police, who said the condition of those attacked and the assailant was not immediately known. Authorities did not provide the identity of the suspect, who was taken to hospital.
Local Police Chief Jonas Lindell said “it appears the injuries are not life threatening” but could not give more details. The events unfolded in downtown Vetlanda, as police said they had received calls about a man assaulting people with an ax.
Lofven condemned “this terrible act” and added that the Swedish internal security agency, SAPO, was also working on the case. “They are constantly assessing whether there are reasons to take security measures and are ready to do so if necessary,” he said in a statement.