Several wounded in chainsaw attack at health insurance office

BERLIN (AP) — An unkempt man armed with a chainsaw wounded five people Monday at a health insurance office in the northern Swiss city of Schaffhausen and then fled, police said. A manhunt was on for him.

Five people were taken to the hospital, including two with serious injuries who worked for the CSS insurance company.

Swiss police were alerted to the attack at 10:39 a.m. A rescue helicopter was brought in to help the victims and the old town in Schaffhausen was sealed off.

Police warned that “the suspect is dangerous” but added “this case is not a terrorist act.” They said it wasn’t clear whether he still had the chainsaw.

By Monday afternoon, Swiss police had identified the suspect, whom they described as being about 1 meter 90 centimeters tall (6.2 feet) with a bald head and an unkempt appearance. They did not name him but released old photos of the suspect wearing a green T-shirt and black jeans, standing among some trees.

Police later Monday found the Volkswagen minivan with registration plates from the southeastern Swiss canton (state) of Graubuenden that the man was believed to be driving. They did not elaborate on its condition or say if anything else was found in it.

A health insurance company with a ground-floor office in the Schaffhausen building where the attack took place said two of its employees had to be taken to a hospital.

“We can confirm that a man with a chainsaw came into the agency and seriously wounded two of our employees,” said Christina Wettstein, a spokeswoman for insurer CSS. “They are undergoing operations at the moment and we don’t know how they are.”

The company doesn’t know yet whether the other three wounded people were customers or passers-by, she added. It also doesn’t know whether the attacker was a customer.

Schaffhausen is a city of about 36,000 people north of Zurich, near the border with Germany.


Feature photo: Associated Press