Man injures 8 with ax in Sweden before being shot, arrested

Police are seen in the area with shops, trees and walkways
Police are in downtown Vetlanda, Sweden, where several people were attacked by a man reportedly wielding an ax.
(Mikael Fritzon / TT News Agency )

A man armed with an ax attacked and injured eight people in a southern Swedish town Wednesday before being shot and arrested, police said.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said a possible terrorist motive was being investigated.

“In the light of what has emerged so far in the police investigation, prosecutors have initiated a preliminary investigation into terrorist crimes,” he said, but didn’t elaborate.

Shortly after his statement, investigators at a police news conference said they had started a preliminary attempted-murder investigation, with details “that make us investigate any terrorist motives.”


“But at the moment I cannot go into details,” regional police chief Malena Grann said.

Police said a man in his 20s attacked people in the small town of Vetlanda, about 120 miles southeast of Goteborg, Sweden’s second-largest city. The assailant’s motive was not immediately known.

The man was shot by police, who said the condition of those attacked and of the perpetrator was not immediately known. Officials did not identify the suspect, who was taken to a hospital.

Local police chief Jonas Lindell said, “It seems that the injuries are not life-threatening,” but could not give further details.

The events took place in downtown Vetlanda with police saying they got calls about a man assaulting people with an ax.

Lofven condemned “this terrible act” and added that Sweden’s domestic security agency, SAPO, was also working on the case.

”They continuously assess whether there are reasons to take security-enhancing measures and are prepared to do so if necessary,” he said in a statement.