A Truck In Stockholm, Sweden Has Crashed Into A Number Of Shoppers & Left People Injured
Multiple deaths and injuries have been reported after a truck crashed into a department store in Stockholm, Sweden Friday afternoon. The crash occurred on one of the city's busiest pedestrian streets, Drottninggatan, just a few blocks away from the Stockholm Central Terminal subway and rail station. The driver apparently drove through the crowded street, killing three people and injuring 15 before crashing into the Ahlens department store. According to Sweden news outlet Aftonbladet, the truck was stolen from a local brewery. No arrests have been made yet, but police did release a photo of a person of interest connected to the case.
According to the Associated Press, gunshots were fired sometime during the incident, though it is currently unclear who initiated the exchange. Swedish police have confirmed the crash, but not yet confirmed the reports of shots fired.
Though neither motive nor intent have been confirmed, early reports indicate that the driver may have deliberately caused the crash. "Some kind of vehicle has been driven into a street full of pedestrians," Swedish Police spokesman Lars Vilstrom told CNN Friday. "We have a lot of police officers on the scene. We don't have numbers yet." According to Reuters, witnesses saw multiple "body-like forms covered by blankets" on the street following the crash. "I saw at least three dead, but probably more," Swedish radio reporter Martin Svenningsen said, also per Reuters.
CNN spoke with a spokesperson for Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who said that the prime minister has been told about the crash in Stockholm and is now traveling back to the capital city. Lofven reportedly said that evidence at the scene indicates that the crash was "a terrorist attack," according to the BBC.
The Swedish king also released a statement regarding the crash, offering sympathies for the victims but no new information. "It is with dismay the Royal Family and I have been informed of the attack in Stockholm this afternoon," wrote King Carl XVI Gustav. "The background and full extent of the incident is not yet known. We are closely following the developments but our thoughts are already now with the victims and their families."
Social media users were quick to put the blame for the crash on "radical Islamic terrorism," before any official confirmation that it was or wasn't intentional. According to CNN, Sweden accepted more than 100,000 refugees between 2012 and 2015, more than any other European country per capita. CNN also reported that the incidence of crimes against Muslims in Sweden has increased by more than 90 percent in recent years, mirroring the tension in other European countries as well. There is absolutely no confirmation that the attack was intentional yet, but the timing of the incident draws a troubling parallel — it occurred less than three weeks after the Westminster Bridge Attack in London, in which a truck was used as a weapon.
BREAKING: Stockholm County Council: 3 people have been killed in beer truck attack; 15 wounded, 9 of them seriously.— The Associated Press (@AP) April 7, 2017
Some of the remaining questions surrounding the incident should be answered as the investigation continues, such as a possible terrorism connection and a clarified number of victims. No matter the cause behind the crash, this incident may still "[contribute] to a sense of threat across the Continent," according to the New York Times.