At first, students at Kronan School in the town of Trollhattan in Sweden thought that the man wearing a "Star Wars" style Sith costume and carrying a sword was pulling a strange Halloween prank when he walked through the school hallways on Thursday morning. Some students even posed for selfies with the masked stranger who didn't say a word when he entered the school through a public entrance. But his motivations soon became horrifyingly clear a few moments later when his unannounced visit turned into one of Sweden's biggest nightmares.
According to reports, the masked intruder was approached by a teacher's aide who asked him to leave the premises because he was scaring the students. The man nodded but instead of leaving, stabbed the 20-year old aide repeatedly. In the wake of the school attack, one teacher and one student died from their stab wounds and the sword-wielding masked man also died from gunshot injuries from the police in a shootout that occurred to stop his rampage.
Students and teachers who were in the school when the attack happened said that the man was knocking from classroom to classroom, stabbing the students who opened the door.
Further police reports and witness accounts of the day also have suggested that the attack might have been racially motivated.
Lead investigator Thord Haraldsson told reporters that the evidence is building up and pointing towards the attacks being a hate crime.
“He selected his victims and attacked the dark-skinned ones and left the light-skinned ones alone,” Haraldsson said.
Further reports indicate that a “suicide note” was found in the attacker's home along with other paraphernalia which suggest that he had far-right inclinations and Neo-Nazi sympathies. Swedish media reports also tell of his criticisms against Islam and the recent influx of immigrants.
The town of Trollhattan has a population of 56,000 residents. A poll conducted in 2013 showed that 10,373 of the current town's residents were born outside of Sweden — mostly from the Balkans, the Middle East, and Ethiopia. Many of the 400 students who attend Kronan School are foreign born.
Of the victims who were killed by the assailant, one man was born in Somalia in 1998 and the 15-year old student whose nationality was not disclosed was also reportedly an immigrant.
Although some media outlets have named the attacker as a 21-year old who even shouted the line from the Star Wars movie, “I am your father!” as he conducted his murder-spree, police have yet to officially confirm his identity.
His now-eerie costume, which many thought resembles that of Darth Vader, is reportedly a black WWII Nazi-style helmet with a mask in the style of a Sith Lord.
Parents and other children from the school have gathered outside the building to light candles to pay vigil to the two were killed and others who were brought to the hospital with serious injuries.
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven called it “a black day for Sweden.”