STOCKHOLM — A man drove a stolen beer truck into a crowd of people in a popular shopping district in Stockholm on Friday afternoon and then rammed it into a department store, killing four people and injuring 15 others in an attack that unleashed bloodshed on the streets of another European capital.
“Sweden has been attacked. All indications are that it was a terrorist attack,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in a statement.
The police have “caught one person of particular interest,” Jan Evensson, the chief of regional police, said in a news conference on Friday evening. “He fits the description of the person in the photo we published,” he said, in reference to a photo released by the police earlier in the day of a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt. “We hope it’s the same guy.”
In a late-night news conference, the prime minister said: “Our whole country is in a state of shock. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.”
Mr. Lofven said control had been tightened on Sweden’s borders, and he praised Swedes for opening their homes to people who were stranded in the city as public transport was shut down after the attack.
“If it’s a terrorist act, the aim is to undermine democracy, but such acts will never succeed in Sweden,” he said. “Our message is clear: You will never ever win.”
The authorities said they did not know whether the episode was an isolated assault or something bigger. The Swedish intelligence agency said “a large number” of people had been injured.
Mats Lofving, the head of the Swedish police’s national operations department, said, “This is now declared a national security event,” adding that officers across the nation were on heightened alert.
The Stockholm police confirmed on Twitter that four people were dead and 15 others wounded.
The Swedish Parliament was on lockdown, according to news reports. Train service had resumed by the evening but the police, who blocked off the affected area, urged people to stay at home and avoid the city center.
The first emergency call came in around 2:50 p.m. local time as the attack unfolded in Drottninggatan, Stockholm’s busiest shopping street, the police said. Witnesses described a scene of panic and terror.
“I saw hundreds of people running; they ran for their lives” before the truck crashed into the Ahlens department store, a witness identified only as Anna told the newspaper Aftonbladet.