Stockholm suspect was failed asylum-seeker; 2nd man arrested
STOCKHOLM — The Stockholm truck attack suspect from Uzbekistan was a rejected asylum-seeker who eluded authorities’ attempts to deport him by giving police a wrong address, Swedish police said Sunday while announcing the arrest of a second suspect.
Jan Evensson of the Stockholm police told a televised news conference that the 39-year-old suspect’s request for a residence permit was rejected in June 2016 but police could not find him to send him back to his native country because he was not at the address he had given. On Feb. 24, he was formally sought after by Swedish police.
“We know he has been sympathetic to extremist organizations,” said Jonas Hysing of Sweden’s national police. He declined to name the suspect, who had been arrested within hours of Friday’s attack on shoppers in Stockholm.
Swedish prosecutors on Sunday arrested a second person in connection with the truck attack case for suspected crimes against the nation and were holding four other people.
“A person suspected of terrorist offenses by murder has been arrested,” spokeswoman Karin Rosander told The Associated Press. She did not give any further details about the new suspect.
In all, Evensson said authorities have questioned over 500 people in the investigation so far.
The four victims killed in Friday’s truck attack on shoppers in the Swedish capital included a British man, a Belgian woman and two Swedes, authorities in those countries said. Their identities were not released.
The Belgian news agency Belga said the Belgian woman had been reported missing and was first identified by her identity papers and later by DNA testing.
As of Sunday, 10 of the 15 people wounded in the truck attack remained hospitalized, including one child. Stockholm county spokesman Patrik Soderberg said four of the 10 were considered “seriously” injured and the remaining six, including the child, were slightly injured.
Soderberg said it was important that caregivers continue to give “long-term psychological support to those who need it.”
One of the wounded, an 83-year-old Romanian woman who was begging on the city’s pedestrian Drottninggatan shopping street when the attack took place, says she was “surprised” that by-passers helped her.
“I thought everyone would run past me and save themselves,” Papusa Ciuraru, whose foot was crushed by a boulder displaced by the speeding truck, told the Expressen daily.
Speaking from her bed at the Saint Goran hospital in Stockholm, she said she “thought a war was going on” because “people around me were screaming.”
The lion-shaped boulders on Drottninggatan are meant as roadblocks and have been put up in several European capitals after another truck attack last year killed 12 people at a Christmas market in Berlin.
Ciuraru, who expects to be released Monday from the hospital, said she “tried to get up and run but got a huge rock over my leg.”
Meanwhile, the famous Swedish department store that was rammed Friday by a stolen beer truck apologized for an announcement that it would reopen two days after the deadly attack to sell damaged goods at a “reduced price.”
The Ahlens department store called the move “a bad decision” on its Facebook page. It said its motivation “was born out of the idea of standing up for transparency and not allowing evil forces take control of our lives.”
The store said it would reopen Monday “without any damaged goods.”
A fire broke out Friday afternoon at the store after the truck smashed into shoppers at its entrance on Drottninggatan street. It was quickly put out by firefighters.
Police held raids overnight to bring other people in for questioning as authorities investigated the deadliest attack in Stockholm in years. Sweden’s SAPO security police said it was working to find “any abettor or network involved in the attack.”
“We have a lot of people who are being taken to police offices throughout Stockholm for questioning,” police spokesman Kjell Lindgren told The Associated Press. “(We are doing) all the things that are necessary to make a good investigation. That means we are going to continue to check objects, people, vehicles and so on.”
Stockholm city officials, meanwhile, had to moved thousands of flowers at a makeshift memorial to a nearby square after an aluminum fence outside the Ahlens department store was overwhelmed with tributes and threatened to collapse.
The fence had been put up to keep people away from the broken glass and twisted metal at the attack site, and to allow forensic experts and police to gather evidence.
Boards were put on the store’s damaged front, and people were seen writing mourning messages directly on the boards.
Thousands of people have come to the Stockholm crash site, including the prime minister, several government officials and Sweden’s crown princess, to lay flowers and light candles in memory of the truck attack victims.