Knife-wielding man stabs four at school in Sweden

A knife-wielding masked man stabbed four people Thursday at a school in southern Sweden, killing one teacher and seriously wounding two students and another teacher before being shot by police, authorities said.

Students fled from the Kronan school in Trollhattan, near Goteborg, Sweden's second-largest city, after the attack in a cafe near the school just after 10 a.m., police said.

Police arrived to find one male teacher already dead and two students and another male teacher wounded, police spokesman Thomas Fuxborg told The Associated Press.

The attacker had a large knife, possibly two, including what may have been a sword, another police spokesman, Stefan Gustavsson, told the AP. He said authorities knew the attacker had killed the teacher "because of the wounds he had."

Investigators declined to be more specific about the arms the attacker used. A police press conference was scheduled for later Thursday.

Laith Alazze, a 14 year-old student at the school, said at first he thought the attacker - who was clad in black with a mask - had something to do with Halloween.

"One of my friends walked over to him to challenge him, but when we saw he stabbed him (the teacher), we ran away," Alazze told Sweden's TV4.

Fuxborg said police fired two shots, one of which hit the attacker, a 21-year-old man from Trollhattan. The motive for the attack was not known, he added.

The three wounded people were in very serious condition and undergoing surgery at the Norra Alvsborgs Lanssjukhus hospital. Dr. Lars Spetz told reporters the wounded teacher had been stabbed in the abdomen while the two students - boys aged 11 and 15 - were stabbed in the abdomen, liver and chest.

"They hover between life and death," Spetz said.

The attacker, who was also at the hospital, had gun wounds to his lower chest, he said.

The school has 400 students, ranging from pre-school to high school. Fuxborg could not say whether the attacker had any connection to the school.

Swedish media said the school held a meeting Thursday morning to discuss teachers' fears that the school was too open. The Dagens Nyheter newspaper said students must go through a public cafe to reach the school's cafeteria and other parts of the building.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who headed to Trollhattan, described Thursday as a "black day."

"My thoughts go out to the victims and their families, the students and staff, and the whole community that has been affected," Lofven said. "No words can describe what they are going through right now."

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