Chainsaw attack suspect nabbed by Swiss police

A photo released by the Schaffhausen Police in Switzerland showing the suspect believed to have been behind a chainsaw attack on health insurance employees.
A photo released by the Schaffhausen Police in Switzerland showing the suspect believed to have been behind a chainsaw attack on health insurance employees. PHOTO: EPA/SCHAFFHAUSER POLIZEI

ZURICH (NYTIMES) - After a search by hundreds of officers, Swiss police arrested and charged a 51-year-old man suspected of attacking health insurance employees with a chainsaw, authorities said on Wednesday (July 26).

The suspect, Franz Wrousis, who had evaded the police for 36 hours, was detained late on Tuesday (July 25) in Thalwil, near Zurich, after a tip from a resident who recognised him from images released by authorities, said Mr Ravi Landolt, a senior investigator for the regional police in Schaffhausen, where the attack took place.

Wrousis was on foot and carrying a plastic bag containing two crossbows loaded with arrows and two sticks with spiked tips at the time of his arrest, a prosecutor, Mr Peter Sticher, said at a news conference.

The suspect did not have a chainsaw with him, and police were still searching for the one used in the attack, Mr Sticher said.

"The arrest took place without protest; he behaved himself and was cooperative," Mr Sticher said.

Wrousis was handed over to authorities in Schaffhausen and charged with committing multiple personal assaults.

A motive for the assault was still unclear, authorities said. The attack injured two employees, and two customers of the CSS Insurance company were treated at the scene for shock.

One more man was slightly injured by Schaffhausen police, they said in a statement. (Earlier, police had said that the attacker had wounded the five people.) One person remained hospitalised, police said.

It was not immediately clear how the suspect had travelled the roughly 64.3km to Thalwil, on the shore of Lake Zurich, from Schaffhausen.

Swiss police had mobilised 300 officers to search for the suspect, calling in reinforcements from neighbouring areas.

Residents were warned to exercise caution and to avoid the forests around Schaffhausen, where Wrousis was believed to have been living in his car.