A masked man wielding a large sword broke into a school in southwestern Sweden earlier today, killing a teacher and wounding two children before being shot and wounded by police.
The attack took place in a school in the southwestern city of Trollhattan for children aged between six and 15.
“One teacher has died at the scene,” local health officials said, indicating that another teacher and two children, aged 11 and 15, were also wounded in the assault.
Police said they shot the assailant but did not immediately confirm his condition. The man, who was reportedly in his 20s, was taken to hospital for treatment.
The police were alerted to the attack at around 10:10am (0810 GMT). The attacker’s motive was not immediately clear.
School children initially through it was a joke.
“When we first saw him, we thought it was a joke. He was wearing a mask and black clothes and (carrying) a long sword. Some students wanted to take their picture with him and feel the sword,” one unidentified student told news agency TT.
When the man started attacking people, he quickly realised it wasn’t a joke and fled as the assailant went from classroom to classroom looking for victims.
TT said several knives were used in the attack.
Police said there was “a lot of confusion” at the school, saying there were still pupils and teachers inside more than two hours after the attack.
According to its website, the Kronan school has around 400 pupils.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven was expected to visit the town later on Thursday, the Swedish parliament’s Twitter account said.
Trollhattan is an industrial town of 57,000 and home to the former Swedish carmaker Saab which filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
School attacks are rare in Sweden.
A 1961 school shooting in Kungalv, in southwestern Sweden, left one person dead and six others injured.
No other mass shootings have occurred since then, though at least one attack has been foiled, in the southern city of Malmo in 2004. Other threats have been issued but not followed through.