A 15-year-old boy has been arrested and accused of stabbing a refugee center worker to death in western Sweden.
The English-language news site The Local reported that the victim, a 22-year-old woman, was attacked Monday at the center in the town of Molndal, near Gothenburg. The alleged attacker was restrained by other residents until police arrived.
“It was messy, of course, a crime scene with blood. The perpetrator had been overpowered by other residents, people were depressed and upset," Police spokesman Thomas Fuxborg told the TT news agency, according to The Local.
Police did not immediately identify the suspect or his nationality, but did say that he was a resident of the center, which houses unaccompanied minors between the ages of 14 and 17.
Swedish media identified the suspect as being 15 years old and the victim as 22-year-old Alexandra Mezher, who has family from Lebanon.
"It is so terrible. She was a person who wanted to do good, who wanted to be good. And then someone murdered her when she's doing her job," one of her cousins, who was not identified, told the Expressen tabloid, according to The Local.
Staffan Alexandersson, a social worker and spokesperson for Living Nordic AB, which runs the center, told TT that "we're working right now in the crisis team to deal with both staff and children” and all residents in the facility have been moved to alternative accommodations.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven condemned the attack during a visit to the area on Monday, calling it a "terrible crime." He added that many Swedes fear that such attacks could happen again.
"I believe that there are quite many people in Sweden who feel a lot of concern that there can be more cases of this kind, when Sweden receives so many children and youth, who come alone," he told Radio Sweden, according to the BBC.
Fuxborg told the AFP that "these kinds of calls are becoming more and more common.
“We're dealing with more incidents like these since the arrival of so many more refugees from abroad,” he said.
Sweden accepted approximately 160,000 asylum applications last year, becoming a popular destination for refugees fleeing turmoil in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. However, the country recently introduced temporary border checks in an effort to control the flow of new arrivals.
The Local, citing the Swedish Migration Agency, reported that the number of threats and violent incidents at asylum facilities rose by 46 percent in 2015 over the previous year
But Löfven said it was “too early” to draw conclusions about Monday’s stabbing.
"Many of those young people who come to Sweden have had traumatic experiences and there are no easy answers," he told reporters, according to The Local.