BERLIN, Germany (AP) — A man armed with a chainsaw wounded five people at a health insurer’s office Monday in the northern Swiss city of Schaffhausen, police said, triggering a manhunt for a suspect described as aggressive and psychologically unstable.
Suspect Franz Wrousis, 51, has two previous convictions for weapons offenses and no fixed residence, apparently preferring to spend his time in the woods, authorities said.
The man seriously injured two insurance agency employees in their ground-floor office in the old town of Schaffhausen in the morning, said Christina Wettstein, a spokeswoman for insurer CSS.
The two employees were hospitalized and underwent medical operations but authorities said their lives were not in danger. Another three people were slightly injured in the confrontation.
The perpetrator had fled by the time police arrived. Authorities immediately sealed off the city’s old town.
Swiss police believe “this was first and foremost a crime against this insurance agency,” senior regional police official Ravi Landolt told reporters, though there was no immediate word on the suspect’s possible motive.
Switzerland has a system of mandatory insurance with private health insurers.
“We have information that this man is dangerous, that he is aggressive and, shall we say, psychologically disturbed,” he added.
Prosecutor Peter Sticher said Wrousis has two previous convictions for offenses against weapons laws, one from 2014 and 2016. He didn’t elaborate or say whether they were committed, but said he has no previous record in the small northern canton (state) of Schaffhausen, near the German border.
Wrousis was previously registered as living in Graubuenden canton, in Switzerland’s southeast. He apparently lives mostly in woods, Landolt said, though it wasn’t clear where he was immediately before Monday’s attack.
Police released old photos of the suspect standing among some trees in a green T-shirt and black jeans. They didn’t give details of when or where the photos were taken. They described him as being bald, unkempt and about 1 meter 90 centimeters tall (6.2 feet).
On Monday afternoon, police found the Volkswagen minivan with registration plates from Graubuenden that the suspect was believed to be driving. They did not elaborate on its condition or say if anything else was found in it.
Schaffhausen is a city of about 36,000 people north of Zurich on the German border.