Two dead in stabbing attack in Turku, Finland
At least eight people were stabbed and two have died in Turku, Finland, according to Finnish police.
Police said they arrived quickly on scene at the market square in Turku Friday afternoon. They shot a man in the leg and arrested him.
The suspect is described in a police press release as a young man of foreign background. He is currently in hospital, in police custody, after police shot him in the thigh.
Finland’s interior minister said security is being stepped up across the country.
A witness told Reuters she had seen a man stabbing a woman and other people sobbing at what they had seen after running away in terror.
Police warned people to stay away from the city and reinforced security nationwide, with increased patrols and surveillance, in case more people were involved. People were allowed to return to the city centre a few hours later.
“At this stage, there is only one suspect and we are investigating whether there are more people involved … but it looks likely [he was alone],” Markus Laine from the National Bureau of Investigation said. However, police are looking for more potential suspects.
“For now we do not investigate this [as a terrorist attack] but the possibility has not been ruled out,” he told a news conference.
Police did not give any information on the two people killed or the conditions of those wounded in downtown Turku.
An eyewitness saw four or five ambulances near the city’s main square, according to the Turun newspaper Sanomat.
People laid candles and flowers at the scene of the attack in the evening.
Laura Laine, who saw the stabbing from a nearby outdoor cafe, also returned to the square.
“First thing we heard was a young woman, screaming like crazy. I thought it’s just kids having fun … but then people started to move around and I saw a man with a knife in his hand, stabbing a woman,” she told Reuters.
“Then a person ran towards us shouting, ‘He has a knife,’ and everybody from the terrace ran inside.
“Next, a woman came in to the cafe. She was crying hysterically, down on her knees, saying someone’s neck has been slashed open.”
The six wounded were taken to hospital, police said.
“The act is utterly deplorable and an exceptionally serious violent offence in the Finnish context — it is deeply shocking for us all,” Prime Minister Juha Sipila said in a statement after holding a conference call with his government.
Turku is approximately 150 km west of Helsinki.
—With files from Reuters and the Associated Press.