Swedish officials ID suspect as Uzbek man in truck attack
STOCKHOLM — The suspect in Stockholm’s deadly beer truck attack is a 39-year-old native of Uzbekistan who had been on authorities’ radar, Swedish officials said Saturday. The prime minister urged citizens to “get through this” and strolled through the streets of the capital to chat with residents.
Swedes flew flags at half-staff Saturday to commemorate the four people killed and 15 wounded when the hijacked truck plowed into a crowd of shoppers Friday in Stockholm. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven declared Monday a national day of mourning.
Sweden’s police chief said authorities were confident they had detained the man who carried out the attack. “There is nothing that tells us that we have the wrong person,” Dan Eliason told a news conference Saturday, but added he did not know whether others were involved in the attack. Eliason also said police found something in the truck that “could be a bomb or an incendiary object; we are still investigating it.”
Prosecutor Hans Ihrman said the suspect has not yet spoken to authorities, and he could not confirm whether he was a legal resident of Sweden.
Police conducted overnight raids around Stockholm but declined to say if they were hunting any more suspects. They said the suspect had been on their radar before but not recently.
Sweden’s health service said 10 people were still hospitalized for wounds from the attack and four of them were seriously injured.
Hundreds of people gathered at the site of the crash Saturday, building a wall of colorful flowers on the aluminum fences to keep people away from the broken glass and twisted metal. Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria laid roses on the ground and wiped away a tear. “We must show a huge force, we must go against this,” she told reporters.
Although it was not clear how long the suspect had been in Sweden, the Scandinavian country prides itself on welcoming newcomers. Still, its open-door immigration policy and comparatively heterogeneous culture have led to frictions. In 2015, Sweden received a record 163,000 asylum-seekers. That was the highest per-capita rate in Europe, and the country has since reduced the number of refugees and migrants it will accept.
The truck traveled for more than 500 yards along a main pedestrian street, before smashing into a crowd outside the popular Ahlens department store.
Steve Eklund, 35, who works in an office nearby, said “maniacs can’t be stopped.”
“It’s very simple. Things like this will always happen in an open society,” Eklund said. “Sweden is not a totalitarian society.”