The Catalan city of Lleida was like a ghost town on Monday night, after a man randomly stabbed a number of people indiscriminately on the streets before running away from the police.
Five people were injured in the stabbing spree, and one remains in serious condition at Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona. That victim, a 60-year-old man from Pakistan, was found on the street by passers-by with a large knife sticking out of his back.
The other four victims are an Algerian woman aged 40, a South American man aged 26, a Chinese man aged 33 and a native of Lleida aged 40. All of them are in stable condition, according to sources at Arnau de Vilanova Hospital.
Rumors circulating on the social networks claimed the attacks were related to radical Islamism
Dozens of patrol cars were sent out to catch the attacker, who remains at large despite the police deployment.
“I’ve been working out on the streets for 30 years, and I have never seen so many police out on patrol,” said a taxi driver waiting for customers at the Renfe train station.
Eyewitnesses and victims described the suspect as a dark-skinned man around 35 years old who was wearing green Bermuda shorts, a blue striped shirt and a small wool cap.
Regional police chief Josep Lluís Rossell called a press conference to deny rumors circulating on the social networks that the attacks are related to radical Islamism. Interior Minister Jorge Fernández told the radio network SER that it is much more likely that the suspect is a mentally disturbed individual rather than a lone wolf.
Lleida Mayor Angel Ros said he feared the attacks could create “some feelings of xenophobia" since the attacker is dark-skinned.
The attacks took place between Paseo de Ronda, Príncep de Viana street and Treball square.