A teacher died in a stabbing attack in an elementary school in central Slovakia on Thursday, local time, police said, adding that officers responding to the incident killed the assailant.
Police identified the killer as a 22-year old male, a former student of the school in the town of Vrutky, some 180 kilometres northeast of the capital Bratislava.
The assailant stabbed and killed the deputy principal and injured several others, including a female teacher and two children.
It comes as countries start easing lockdown but countries in Europe struggle economically and emotionally with returning to life as normal.
Officers opened fire on the man, killing him near the school as he attempted to escape.
The killing sent shockwaves through Slovakia, a central European eurozone country of 5.4 million people, where the incident was the first violent attack of its kind in a school.
“He broke the glass door to get in, the staff tried to stop him and he used a knife he had brought with him,” Slovak police chief Milan Lucansky said on his official Facebook page.
“He dealt a lethal injury to a deputy principal and injured the caretaker, then he got inside the building where he caused a serious injury to a female teacher and then injured two kids with multiple stab wounds,” he said.
“He then tried to escape with the caretaker running after him. A policeman chased him, but he tried to defend himself with the knife so they used their guns and killed him.” Although he did not go into detail about the attacker’s motives, Lucansky said the young man appeared to have “struggled with mental health problems”.
All the injured were conscious and in a stable condition en route to a hospital in the nearby city of Martin, an emergency services spokesman said.
Health Minister Marek Krajci said the teacher and children had “severe stab wounds”.
Prime Minister Igor Matovic conveyed his “sincere condolences” to the victim’s family.
The interior minister was flying to the scene, Matovic told journalists on the sidelines of a meeting of central European leaders in the neighbouring Czech Republic.
President Zuzana Caputova offered her condolences and support for “all the teachers, police officers, children and their parents affected by this difficult and fearful time.”