Great Britain

Sweden attack: Man shot by police after injuring eight people with axe

A man has been shot by police after injuring at least eight people with an axe in Sweden.

Investigators are looking into a possible terror motive for the attack in Vetlanda, a small town in the country’s south.

Some of the victims are believed to have been seriously injured, according to authorities.

A suspect was shot and hospitalised, a police spokesperson said. The man, in his 20s, has also been arrested, they added.

The Swedish prime minister said on Wednesday evening it was “not clear exactly what happened and what the motive was” for the attack, which police said was carried out by a lone perpetrator who “seriously injured” several people in the town.

“In the light of what has emerged so far in the police investigation, prosecutors have initiated a preliminary investigation into terrorist crimes,” Stefan Lofven said.

Police, who initially said the attack was not believed to be terror-related, were called to reports of a man attacking people with an axe in Vetlanda around 3pm local time (2pm GMT) on Wednesday.

The suspect attacked at least five different locations in the small town, which has a population of around 13,000 people and sits around 340km south of Stockholm.

“We heard a scream from the street. Then we saw a man enter the store, shouting that he had been stabbed,” Asa Karlqvist, owner of a florist shop, told local newspaper Vetlanda-Posten.

“Blood was pouring from his shoulder, so we got towels and applied pressure on the wound,” she said.

Investigators said on Wednesday they had started a preliminary investigation into attempted murder with details “that make us investigate any terrorist motives”.

The suspect was previously known to police for minor crimes, a police spokesperson said.

Mr Lofven condemned the “terrible violence” in his statement and said Sweden’s security service SAPO was working with police on the attack.

“We confront such heinous acts with the combined force of our society,” he added.

Additional reporting by agencies

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