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Schaffhausen chainsaw attack: At least five injured in assault by male suspect in the northern Swiss town

Perpetrator still at large after police seal off town centre

Samuel Osborne
Monday 24 July 2017 11:48 BST
Armed police in the old town of Schaffhausen as officers search for the attacker
Armed police in the old town of Schaffhausen as officers search for the attacker (EPA)

At least five people have been injured, two seriously, after a man attacked people with a chainsaw in the Swiss town of Schaffhausen.

Police said the perpetrator has been identified but remains at large after the attack, which prompted them to seal off the centre of the town on the German border.

A shop owner told Swiss newspaper Blick a man with a chainsaw was walking the streets and police later confirmed the report.

Swiss police officers stand at a crime scene in Schaffhausen, Switzerland (Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann) (REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

Police said the attack is not being treated as an act of terrorism.

Police official Ravi Landolt identified the suspected perpetrator as Franz Wrousis.

Prosecutor Peter Sticher said the man had no fixed address but previously had been registered himself as living in the south-eastern Swiss canton of Graubünden.

Mr Landolt said Wrousis has two previous convictions, dating back to 2014 and 2016, for contraventions of weapons laws.

Police released pictures of the suspect, who remains at large

Police described him as being 6ft 2in, bald and of unkempt appearance, and he thought to have been driving a white Volkswagen minivan with registration plates from Graubuenden.

The van has since been recovered by police.

Authorities issued old photos of Wrousis wearing a green T-shirt and black jeans, standing among trees.

In a statement, police warned “the suspect is dangerous,” but said it was unclear whether he still had the chainsaw.

The building where the attack took place is home to a bookshop and insurance and lawyers’ offices. It wasn’t immediately clear who or what the man’s target was.

A health insurance company that has an office in the building where the attack took place said two of its employees had to be taken to a hospital, Blick reported.

“We can confirm that a man with a chainsaw came into the agency and seriously wounded two of our employees,” said Christina Wettstein, a spokeswoman for insurer CSS.

“They are undergoing operations at the moment and we don’t know how they are.”

The company doesn’t know yet whether the other three wounded people were customers or passers-by, she added. It also doesn’t know whether the attacker was a customer.

Schaffhausen is a city of about 36,000 north of Zurich, near the border with Germany.

Police were alerted to the attack at 10:39am (08:39 GMT).

They cordoned off the area and ordered people to leave, and witnesses told local media they saw bleeding victims being treated by rescue crews.

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