Racist motive behind horrific sword attack at Swedish school

Disturbing: The killer poses at the school before the horrific attacks
Disturbing: The killer poses at the school before the horrific attacks

The attacker who stabbed two people to death at a school in Sweden before being shot and killed by police had a racist motive, police said.

Police labelled the stabbing in the industrial town of Trollhattan a so-called hate crime based on discoveries they made when searching the perpetrator's home, the way he dressed, his behaviour at the scene and the way he selected his victims.

"All together, this gives a picture that the perpetrator had a racist motive when he committed the crimes at Kronan school," police said in a statement.

A 21-year-old masked man, who has not been identified by police, entered the school in southern Sweden on Thursday and stabbed four people, two of whom died, before he was shot by police. He later died of his wounds.

According to Swedish media, the assailant posed for photos with students before beginning his deadly rampage in the halls of the school in the town, which has a large immigrant community. A majority of the students at Kronan are foreign-born.

Many students thought the attacker was playing a Halloween prank.

News outlets posted a photo of a black-clad man they identified as the attacker wearing a military-style helmet and a black mask with a sword in his hand.

Panicked students fled the school as police and ambulances rushed in.

They found a dead male teacher and three people seriously wounded - two boys, aged 11 and 15, and another male teacher. One of the students later died of his wounds. None of the victims have been identified.

Officers fired two shots, hitting the attacker with a bullet in the lower chest, and he later died in hospital.

Ahmed Hadi, a 25-year-old mathematics teacher at the school, told the Guardian: “I saw a masked man wearing black clothes coming up the stairs, he was carrying a sword covered with blood.

“He moved to another classroom. The kids were scared. We turned the lights off, and put desks behind the door. We asked the kids to sit down and be calm. They’re only 10 years old,” he said.

The assailant was eventually gunned down by police in the hallway outside Hadi’s classroom.