STOCKHOLM • Bloody tyre tracks showed the path of the truck, which was stolen by a masked hijacker while it was making a beer delivery to a tapas bar farther up Drottninggatan, Stockholm's largest shopping street.
Ms Rose-Marie Hertzman, a spokesman for Swedish brewery Spendrups, said the truck was stolen from one of its drivers about half an hour before the rampage.
"The driver was unloading, and a man came running and took the truck and drove away," she said.
Minutes later, the force of the truck crashing into the upscale Ahlens department store sparked a fire and sent smoke billowing above one of the city's premier shopping districts.
One witness, identified only as Dimitris, told the Aftonbladet daily the truck came "out of nowhere".
"I couldn't see if anyone was driving but it was out of control. I saw at least two people get run down. I ran as fast as I could away from there," he said.
Another witness, Marko, was in a coffee shop near the scene with his girlfriend when he saw the truck ram into the store. "He hit a woman first, then he drove over a bunch of other people... We took care of everyone lying on the ground," he told Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbladet.
Mr Hasan Sidi, another passer-by, told Aftonbladet he saw two elderly women lying on the ground and people at the scene urged him to help one of the women who was "bleeding to death".
"One of them died...I don't know if the other one made it," he said.
Police cars and ambulances rapidly flooded the scene, as central streets and squares were blocked off amid fears that another attack could be imminent. Helicopters hovered overhead across the city, sirens wailed, and police vans criss-crossed the streets using loudspeakers to urge people to head straight home and avoid crowded places.
But with the metro system and commuter trains shut down for several hours after the attack, other streets heading out of the city were packed with thousands of pedestrians trying to find a way home.
Stockholm's usually vibrant city centre was eerily silent on Friday evening, with restaurants, bars and cinemas shuttered and streets empty hours after the incident.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE