1 Killed, Several Wounded in Stabbing in Finnish City of Turku

August 18, 2017 Updated: August 18, 2017

TURKU, Finland—A man with a knife killed two people and wounded at least six in a stabbing rampage in a market square in the Finnish city of Turku on Friday, police said.

Police shot the suspected attacker in the leg and arrested him. They said they had yet to establish the identity of the man who appeared to be of foreign origin, or his motive.

They warned people to stay away from the city and reinforced security nationwide, with increased patrols and more surveillance, in case more people were involved. People were allowed to return to the city center 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),” said Markus Laine from the National Bureau of Investigation.

“At this stage, we do not investigate this (as a terrorism attack) but the possibility has not been ruled out,” he told a news conference.

Finnish police patrols on motorbike after stabbings in Turku, in Central Helsinki, Finland on Aug. 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA/Linda Manner via REUTERS)
Finnish police patrols on motorbike after stabbings in Turku, in Central Helsinki, Finland on Aug. 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA/Linda Manner via REUTERS)

Interior Minister Paula Risikko said: “We have not been able to confirm the person’s identity… we have been in contact with the immigration service as the person looks like a foreigner.”

Eyewitnesses described the panic at the scene.

“A man walked towards the ice cream stand where I work, and he hit a woman three times. He started running, went past my kiosk, and he had a knife in his hand,” Terttu Lehtinen told Reuters.

She said that some other men ran behind, apparently chasing him.

Rescue personnel cordon the place where several people were stabbed, at Turku Market Square, Finland on Aug. 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA/Roni Lehti via REUTERS)
Rescue personnel cordon the place where several people were stabbed, at Turku Market Square, Finland on Aug. 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA/Roni Lehti via REUTERS)

“We were sitting by the market square, just enjoying the afternoon. Suddenly people started screaming and yelling, they were hysterical,” said another witness, who gave her name only as Reetta.

“We started running towards our car and, as we got there, my boyfriend said a woman had been stabbed several times in the neck,” she told Reuters.

The six wounded were taken to hospital, police said.

Prime Minister Juha Sipila said: “My deepest condolences to the families and close-ones of the Turku victims. The events of the day are shocking us all.” He added that the government would meet later.

Finland is usually peaceful but the Security Intelligence Service raised the terrorism threat level in June, saying it had become aware of terrorism-related plans in Finland.

Armed Finnish policemen on guard at the Helsinki airport, after stabbings in Turku, in Vantaa, Finland on August 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA/Vesa Moilanen via REUTERS)
Armed Finnish policemen on guard at the Helsinki airport, after stabbings in Turku, in Vantaa, Finland on August 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA/Vesa Moilanen via REUTERS)

The government has grown more concerned about attacks, partly since an Uzbek man killed four people in neighboring Sweden in April by driving a hijacked truck into crowd in central Stockholm.

On Thursday, a suspected radical Islamic terrorist drove a van into crowds in Barcelona, Spain, killing 13 people and wounding scores of others.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “It is with great concern that I have learnt of the violent attacks in Turku, Finland. While details are still emerging, we strongly condemn this unprovoked attack which comes only 24 hours after the horror that unfolded in Spain.”

Finnish police patrol the streets, after stabbings in Turku, in Central Helsinki, Finland August 18, 2017. LEHTIKUVA/Linda Manner via REUTERS
Finnish police patrol the streets, after stabbings in Turku, in Central Helsinki, Finland August 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA/Linda Manner via REUTERS)

Finnish police patrol in front of the Central Railway Station, after stabbings in Turku, in Central Helsinki, Finland August 18, 2017. LEHTIKUVA/Linda Manner via REUTERS     ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. FINLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN FINLAND.
Finnish police patrol in front of the Central Railway Station, after stabbings in Turku, in Central Helsinki, Finland August 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA/Linda Manner via REUTERS)

Rescue personnel cordon the place where several people were stabbed, at Turku Market Square, Finland August 18, 2017.  LEHTIKUVA/Roni Lehti via REUTERS
Rescue personnel cordon the place where several people were stabbed, at Turku Market Square, Finland August 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA/Roni Lehti via REUTERS)

Rescue personnel cordon the place where several people were stabbed, at Turku Market Square, Finland August 18, 2017.  LEHTIKUVA/Roni Lehti via REUTERS
Rescue personnel cordon the place where several people were stabbed, at Turku Market Square, Finland August 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA/Roni Lehti via REUTERS)

Rescue personnel cordon the place where several people were stabbed, at Turku Market Square, Finland August 18, 2017.  LEHTIKUVA/Roni Lehti via REUTERS
Rescue personnel cordon the place where several people were stabbed, at Turku Market Square, Finland August 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA/Roni Lehti via REUTERS)

A police keeps watch at the Turku Market Square after several people were stabbed, in Finland August 18, 2017.  LEHTIKUVA/Roni Lehti via REUTERS
A police keeps watch at the Turku Market Square after several people were stabbed, in Finland August 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA/Roni Lehti via REUTERS)

A cell phone picture from Turku Market Square, where several people were stabbed, Turku, Finland August 18, 2017. LEHTIKUVA via REUTERS    ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. FINLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN FINLAND.
A cell phone picture from Turku Market Square, where several people were stabbed, Turku, Finland August 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA via REUTERS).

Finnish police patrol in front of the Central Railway Station, after stabbings in Turku, in Helsinki, Finland August 18, 2017. LEHTIKUVA/Linda Manner via REUTERS     ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. FINLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN FINLAND.
Finnish police patrol in front of the Central Railway Station, after stabbings in Turku, in Helsinki, Finland August 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA/Linda Manner via REUTERS)

Armed Finnish policemen on guard at the Helsinki airport, after stabbings in Turku, in Vantaa, Finland on August 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA/Vesa Moilanen via REUTERS)
Armed Finnish policemen on guard at the Helsinki airport, after stabbings in Turku, in Vantaa, Finland on August 18, 2017. (LEHTIKUVA/Vesa Moilanen via REUTERS)