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Sweden school killer 'targeted victims based on skin colour'

MASKED KILLER: The suspect apparently posed for photos with pupils ahead of the attack

A MASKED man who killed a teacher and a pupil at a school in Sweden had "racist motives", police believe.

Police chief Niclas Hallgren said they had based their conclusion on what was found at the killer's apartment and "his behaviour during the act".

Media reports suggest the 21-year-old attacker had far-right sympathies.

Armed with a sword and wearing a helmet and mask, he stormed a school in Trollhattan, near Gothenburg, before being shot dead by police, the BBC reported.

"We can confirm that this was a racially motivated hate crime partially because the man chose his victims based on the colour of their skin," Hallgren told Swedish Radio.

The helmet he wore was similar to German World War Two soldiers' helmets.

He was seen posing for a photograph with students, who thought he was dressed for Halloween, before going from classroom to classroom at the Kronan School.

A teacher and 17-year-old boy died from stab wounds, while another male student, 15, and 41-year-old teacher remain in serious condition in hospital.

The attacker's name has not yet been released by police, though they say he was local to Trollhattan. He did not have a criminal record, police said.

The Swedish Daily Expressen and other Swedish media named him as Anton Lundin Pettersson, aged 21.

He had allegedly joined a campaign to push for a referendum on whether Sweden should continue accepting migrants.

Sweden has reacted with shock to the killings. Before visiting the scene of the attack, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said it was a "black day" for the country.

"School is supposed to be the place for learning, play and curiosity and friendship and therefore this is a tragedy that affects the whole country," Lofven told reporters.

King Carl Gustaf said he was "in shock" and that he had learned of the events in Trollhattan "with great dismay and sorrow".

Dozens of people gathered outside the school building on yesterday evening (Oct 22) to pay their respects to the victims and place flowers and candles on the ground.

Swedish media reports say the suspect's accounts on Facebook and YouTube suggest he had an interest in Hitler and Nazi Germany, as well as hostility to Islam and immigration.

"He was a loner. He played video games, lived in his own world," a former classmate told the Expressen.

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