Authorities have confirmed that the young man who killed two people in a Swedish school was driven by xenophobia. The assailant allegedly ran a racist YouTube channel.
The motives behind a 21-year-old sword-wielding attacker who killed two people and wounded two others at a school in Sweden became clearer on Friday as media reports began to describe a background of xenophobia and racism. Police sources had already told the press after the incident on Thursday that they were investigating a "political motive."
"We are convinced that the assailant was driven by racist motives when he carried out the act," police chief Niclas Hallgren told Swedish radio.
"We have reached this conclusion based on what we found when we searched his apartment and his behavior during the act, and also on the basis of how he selected his victims."
Earlier reports by Swedish news also claimed the assailant had a YouTube channel in which he glorified Hitler and spoke critically of Islam and immigration to Sweden.
Mistaken for Halloween prank
The suspect entered the Kronan school in the industrial town of Trollhatan, near Gothenburg, clad in black and wearing a mask. Students reported thinking it was some sort of Halloween prank, and the assailant reportedly posed for pictures before roaming the halls of the school and slashing anyone who opened the doors he knocked on.
He killed a teacher, and one of the students he stabbed later died at the hospital. The attacker was shot by police on the scene and later succumbed to his injuries. Another student and teacher were wounded in the rampage.
The town of Trollhatan has a significant immigrant population, with 20 percent of its around 56,000 inhabitants being foreign-born.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven canceled his scheduled plans and traveled to the school later on Thursday. "This is a black day for Sweden," Lofven said. "It is a tragedy that hits the entire country."
King Carl XVI Gustaf said that the royal family took the news with "great dismay and sadness."
Such violent crimes are very rare in Sweden, which has very strict gun control laws. The last school attack took place in 1961, when a 17-year-old opened fire at a dance hall wounding six students and killing one.
es/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters)