Manhunt still on for Swiss chainsaw attacker
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Manhunt still on for Swiss chainsaw attacker

Cops comb area near border with Germany for reclusive Franz Wrousis, previously seen living in woods in the area

Police officers walk under heavy rain during the hunt in Uhwiesen northern Switzerland, for a man armed with a chainsaw who injured at least five people in an attack in Schaffhausen, July 24, 2017. (AFP/MICHAEL BUHOLZER)
Police officers walk under heavy rain during the hunt in Uhwiesen northern Switzerland, for a man armed with a chainsaw who injured at least five people in an attack in Schaffhausen, July 24, 2017. (AFP/MICHAEL BUHOLZER)

Swiss police said a man who injured five people with a chainsaw is still on the loose and a massive manhunt is underway on the Swiss-German border.

Swiss public broadcaster SRF reported Tuesday that all-night searches for 51-year-old suspect Franz Wrousis, who attacked two health insurance employees in their office in Schaffhausen and then fled, were not successful. Three other people were also attacked and suffered slight injuries.

Schaffhausen police could not immediately be reached for comment.

Authorities said the suspect has two previous convictions for weapons offenses and no fixed residence. In recent weeks, he was seen a lot in forests near Schaffhausen. Police are searching the region with helicopters and sniffer dogs.

The attacker wounded the two insurance agency employees in their ground-floor office in the old town of Schaffhausen on Monday morning, said Christina Wettstein, a spokeswoman for insurer CSS. Authorities said their lives were not in danger.

Revising earlier statements, police said one CSS employee was seriously injured and the other was lightly injured. Another three people were lightly injured in the attack, police said, but there was no information on them.

The perpetrator had fled by the time police arrived. Authorities sealed off the city’s old town until mid-afternoon but kept up their manhunt.

Swiss police ruled out terrorism.

“This was first and foremost a crime against this insurance agency,” senior regional police official Ravi Landolt told reporters Monday, though there was no exact word on the suspect’s motive.

“We have information that this man is dangerous, that he is aggressive and, shall we say, psychologically disturbed,” Landolt added.

Swiss media reported that Wrousis was a CSS client. Switzerland has a system that requires residents to have mandatory health insurance with private health insurers.

Prosecutor Peter Sticher said Wrousis has two previous convictions for offenses against weapons laws, one each from 2014 and 2016. He didn’t elaborate or say where they were committed, but said Wrousis 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.

Police released old photos of Wrousis standing among trees in a green t-shirt and black jeans. They described him as being about 1 meter 90 centimeters tall (6.2 feet) and said he is now partly bald and unkempt.

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