Man arrested in Stockholm truck attack was suspected before

Swedish police said the man arrested for driving a truck into a crowd of people had been investigated previously for extremist ideology but was not charged.

Tow trucks move the beer truck that crashed into the Ahlens department store after plowing down Drottninggatan Street in central Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday.. Four people were killed and 15 injured in the suspected terror attack. A suspect has been arrested. Photo by Maja Suslin/ EPA
Tow trucks move the beer truck that crashed into the Ahlens department store after plowing down Drottninggatan Street in central Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday.. Four people were killed and 15 injured in the suspected terror attack. A suspect has been arrested. Photo by Maja Suslin/ EPA

Officials labeled Friday’s incident, which killed four people and injured a dozen more, as a terrorist attack.

Authorities did not identify the man but local media outlets identified him as a 39-year-old Uzbekistan national, The New York Times reported. The man was arrested on suspicion of perpetrating a terror attack. He was taken into custody in Marsta, located north of Stockholm. Police said he matched an image released after the incident, but did not release more details about the suspect.
“We have one person in custody, and we think he is the driver of the truck,” Lars Bystrom, a spokesman for the regional police, said Saturday.

Officials said the incident occurred on one of Stockholm’s major pedestrian streets in a busy shopping district at 3 p.m. local time. At least 15 people were injured including children. Six of the injured people had been released from the hospital by Saturday. At least two people remain in intensive care at the hospital.

The Wall Street Journal reported the suspect had been the subject of a police investigation previously, but officials determined there was not enough evidence to warrant bringing charges. Dan Eliasson, the head of Sweden’s national police, said investigators regarded the suspect as a “marginal character” prior to Friday’s attack.

Police are also investigating whether evidence recovered from the cab of the beer truck constituted a homemade bomb, or if it was meant as a flammable liquid.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, though police have not ruled out a connection to the Islamic State.

Friday’s incident was the fourth time in a year extremists have used vehicles as weapons, underscoring the difficulty in predicting or preventing such lone wolf-style attacks in public places, authorities said.

By Amy R. Connolly and Eric DuVall