Swiss police issue international arrest warrant for chainsaw attacker

A handout picture released on July 24, 2017, by Swiss police of Franz Wrousis, who allegedly injured at least five people in a chainsaw attack in the old town of Schaffhausen, Switzerland, on July 24, 2017.
A handout picture released on July 24, 2017, by Swiss police of Franz Wrousis, who allegedly injured at least five people in a chainsaw attack in the old town of Schaffhausen, Switzerland, on July 24, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

SCHAFFHAUSEN, SWITZERLAND - Swiss police have issued an international arrest warrant after a man went on the rampage with a chainsaw in the northern border town of Schaffhausen, BBC reported on Tuesday (July 25).

Suspect Franz Wrousis, 50, is still on the run more than 24 hours after the attack on a local health insurance office close to the German border, the report said.

Five people were hurt in the attack which police said was not "a terrorist act". The victim with the most serious wounds is now out of danger, police said according to the BBC.

They believe the suspect is still armed with the chainsaw.

They released a new photo of Franz Wrousis on Tuesday and said he had several convictions for weapons offences. He is also said to have had no fixed address and had reportedly has spent significant time living in a forest.

The attack on Monday began shortly after the suspect entered an office building in the northern town of Schaffhausen at 10.30am (4.30pm Singapore time), local police said in a statement according to Agence France-Presse.

 

Schaffhausen prosecutor Peter Sticher told reporters that an insurance company with offices in the building was the apparent target, indicating the attacker had a grievance with the firm.

The authorities were alerted about 10 minutes after the attack began and rushed officers, ambulances and helicopters to the scene.

The injured included one employee of the insurance company who suffered serious wounds, AFP reported, citing Schaffhausen police.

The town's historic old quarter was sealed off by a large deployment of officers who evacuated all nearby businesses and pedestrians, but the barricades were later removed and regular traffic returned to the area.

'Dangerous and aggressive'

Police distributed photos of Wrousis that show him looking dishevelled. He is pictured standing alone in what appears to be a forested area.

A local official in Zurich canton, Mr Ruedi Karrer, told the 20Minuten website he had seen Wrousis in the Uhwiesen forest while walking his dog and believed the suspect had been staying there for about two weeks.

Several other residents told the site they had also passed by Wrousis in the forest - about 2km from Schaffhausen - and that his behaviour had been threatening.

"This is a dangerous and aggressive man," the chief of security in Schaffhausen, Mr Ravi Landoldt, was quoted by AFP as telling reporters. "This was not his first contact with police."

The suspect was convicted in 2014 and again in 2016 for weapons offences, police said.

Despite relatively low crime rates, Switzerland has one of the highest rates of firearm ownership in the world and police said it was likely that the suspect was carrying weapons.

The manhunt involving roughly 100 police officers is being carried out by Schaffhausen authorities and supported by forces from Zurich as well as Germany, police said.

The suspect's vehicle, a white Volkswagen, has been found, although he remains on the run.