Trollhättan school attack

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Trollhättan school attack
Trollhattan killer.jpg
Anton Lundin Pettersson, photographed in the corridors of the school minutes before he began his attack
Trollhättan is located in Västra Götaland
Trollhättan (Västra Götaland)
Trollhättan is located in Sweden
Trollhättan (Sweden)
Location Kronan School, Trollhättan, Sweden
Coordinates 58°16′9″N 12°18′20″E / 58.26917°N 12.30556°E / 58.26917; 12.30556
Date 22 October 2015 (2015-10-22)
Target Teachers and students
Attack type
Murder, mass stabbing
Weapon Sword
Deaths 4 (including the perpetrator)
Non-fatal injuries
Perpetrator Anton Lundin Pettersson
Motive Racism

On 22 October 2015, 21-year-old Anton Lundin Pettersson attacked Kronan School in Trollhättan, Sweden, with a sword. He killed a teaching assistant and a male student, stabbed another male student and a teacher, and died later of the gunshot wounds he received during his apprehension.[1][2] The second teacher who was wounded died in hospital six weeks after the attack, on 3 December.

The attack was Sweden's first deadly attack on a school since the 1961 Kungälv school shooting when one person was killed and six injured. It is also the deadliest attack on a school in Swedish history.[2] The initial police investigation concluded that Pettersson was motivated by racism and had chosen the school as his target due to its location in a neighbourhood with a high immigrant population.[3]


According to Professor Ove Sernhede of the University of Gothenburg, Trollhättan had had a long history of hate crimes, starting with arson at a mosque in the 1990s. Research by his colleague Anders Sundell has found it to be the most ethnically segregated city in Sweden.[3]

Surveys frequently show Sweden to be the European country which is most tolerant of immigration, although its population is polarised on the issue. Sundell's research showed that consistently over the last 20 years, a plurality of Swedes had wanted to limit the number of refugees coming to the country, but "There is a large difference between what the politicians think and the general public, and the media have not questioned the politicians until recently". This has led to those who oppose immigration to imagine that there is a conspiracy.[3]


Pettersson entered the school in a German WW2 helmet and a mask similar to that of Star Wars villain Darth Vader. At first, eyewitnesses believed it was a Halloween prank.[4] Pettersson immediately attacked the 20-year-old teaching assistant Lavin Eskandar. Eskandar, a Feyli Kurd from Iraq,[5][6][7][8] was stabbed and died at the scene. Pettersson then stabbed the abdomen of Ahmed Hassan, a 15-year-old born in Somalia.[3] Hassan died in the hospital. After that Pettersson posed with two students who thought it was a prank and a picture was taken while blood was dripping from the sword. When the 42-year-old teacher Nazir Amso asked Pettersson to remove his mask, Amso was stabbed. He died six weeks later at the hospital. At 10.16 AM Pettersson was shot by police and died in the hospital.[2]

On the morning of 23 October, Swedish police and media confirmed that the motive behind the attack had "racist motives" and that it was a "hate crime".[9] Niclas Hallgren, the city's police chief, stated that all of the victims were "dark-skinned".[3] Head of investigation Thord Haraldsson said that CCTV footage showed that Pettersson spared the lives of students with white skin.[10]

Nazir Amso, the mathematics teacher who was stabbed, died of his injuries in hospital on 3 December, at the age of 42.[11][12]


Anton Lundin Pettersson
Born Anton Niclas Lundin Pettersson
(1994-06-22)June 22, 1994
Died October 22, 2015(2015-10-22) (aged 21)
Trollhattan, Sweden
Cause of death Shot by Swedish police officers
Citizenship Swedish
Occupation Unemployed
Known for Perpetrator of the Trollhattan school attack
Date 22 October 2015
Location(s) Trollhattan, Sweden
Target(s) Teachers and Students of Kronan School
Killed 3
Injured 1
Weapons Sword

Anton Niclas Lundin Pettersson[13] (22 June 1994[13] – 22 October 2015) was identified as the attacker at 20:00 CET (18:00 GMT) by Expressen.[14] According to Aftonbladet, the perpetrator had visited right-wing extremist groups at social media sites supporting Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.[15] He had also joined a group on Facebook that wants to stop immigration to Sweden.[15] The Swedish Security Service were called in to investigate these findings.[15] Pettersson had no criminal record and was not a member of any political organisation, but had supported a petition by the Sweden Democrats to initiate a referendum on immigration.[3] He left a handwritten note at his home in which he declared that something had to be done about immigration, and that he did not expect to survive his spree.[10]

Pettersson graduated from Lichron Teknikgymnasium with a diploma in technology.[10] He lived in an apartment in the neighbourhood of Stavre, but chose to attack the Kronan School in Kronogården, where there are more immigrants; police cited this as more evidence towards his motive.[3] Former classmates described the perpetrator as a lonely person who "lived in his own world" and always dressed in black clothes influenced either by the emo or rock scene.[15]

Bjørn Ihler, a survivor of Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik's terror attacks in 2011, wrote in The Guardian that in 2013, Pettersson had "liked" a YouTube video of former Ku Klux Klan leader Johnny Lee Clary testifying how a positive experience with a black man had caused him to disavow his previously-held beliefs.[16]


Prime Minister Stefan Löfven travelled to Trollhättan after news of the attack, calling it a "black day" for the country.[2] Interior Minister Anders Ygeman wrote on Twitter, "It is with sadness and dismay I received the news of the attack on the school in Trollhättan. My thoughts go to the victims and their families".[2] King Carl XVI Gustaf said that the royal family received the news "with great dismay and sadness".[17]

In the days following the attack, there were reports of people wearing suspicious outfits or brandishing weapons, which were discovered to be people celebrating Halloween. The police warned the public not to carry imitation weapons with their Halloween costumes, in order to avoid potentially dangerous misunderstandings.[18]

The school remained closed until 2 November, when it reopened with higher security. An Afghan father told The Local that he wished to leave the neighbourhood for his family's safety.[19]

On 29 September 2017, the first book about the school attack was published: "Det som aldrig fick ske". The book contains completely new facts, for example a secret suicide note that the police and the Pettersson family didn't know existed. In the book the brother of Anton Lundin Pettersson speaks out for the first time.

The author Åsa Erlandsson 2017 won the Stora Journalistpriset (the finest prize in journalism in Sweden) for the book.

See also[edit]

Homicides in Sweden in 2015
Racially motivated homicides in Scandinavia


  1. ^ "Tre dödsoffer: Vuxen, elev och gärningsman" [Three deaths: adult, student and perpetrator]. Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). 22 October 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Sweden sword attack: Two dead after masked attacker strikes". BBC News. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Crouch, David (23 October 2015). "Swedish police say school attack was racist, as refugee rules tightened". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Vinograd, Cassandra (22 October 2015). "Sword Attack at Kronan School in Trollhattan Kills Teacher, Wounds 3". NBC News. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "Kurdish teacher, student killed in stabbing attack on Swedish school". 23 December 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  6. ^ "Kurdish victim who tried to stop Sweden school shooting praised". 23 December 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  7. ^ Taylor, Adam (23 December 2015). "Swedish school worker killed trying to protect students in racial attack hailed as hero". The Washington Post. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "Så hyllar världen Lavin Eskandar för hans stora hjältemod på skolan". 23 December 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  9. ^ "Han marscherade som en militär" [He marched like a soldier]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). 23 October 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c Malm, Sara (23 October 2015). "Swedish sword killer left hand-written 'suicide note' before launching racist hate attack on migrant students". Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 October 2015. 
  11. ^ "Läraren död efter attacken i Trollhättan" [Läraren dead after attack in Trollhättan]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). 4 December 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015. 
  12. ^ Wikström, Sanna; Salihu, Diamant; Berntsson, JonathanOlsson; Olsson, Daniel. "Tredje offret död efter skolattacken" [Third victim dead after school attack]. Expressen. Retrieved 4 December 2015. 
  13. ^ a b "Svenske medier: Anton Lundin Pettersson (21) drepte to personer med sverd" [Swedish media: Anton Lundin Pettersson (21) killed two people with sword] (in Norwegian). 22 October 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  14. ^ El-Mochantaf, Christer; Nilsson, Gustaf; Olsson, Daniel; Berntsson, Jonathan. "Anton Lundin Pettersson mördade två i skolan" [Anton Lundin Pettersson murdered two at school]. Expressen (in Swedish). Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c d Tagesson, Eric; Granlund, John; Nordström, Isabelle; Svahn, Niklas. "Anton, 21, misstänks för morden på skolan" [Anton, 21, suspected of the murder in school]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  16. ^ Ihler, Bjørn (23 October 2015). "The Trollhättan killer didn't become an extremist overnight. Somebody could have stopped him". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  17. ^ Perry, Dave (22 October 2015). "UPDATE: Sweden's king: Country 'in shock' after attacks". Aurora Sentinel. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  18. ^ "Swedish police: don't wear Halloween masks". The Local. 23 October 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  19. ^ "Trollhättan pupils return after fatal school attack". The Local. 2 November 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015.