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Stockholm cop charged over 'cowboy' shootout

Stockholm cop charged over 'cowboy' shootout

Published: 03 Oct 2012 07:14 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Oct 2012 07:14 GMT+02:00

Criminal charges were filed on Tuesday against a Stockholm police officer who shot wildly at a gang of thieves as they attempted to flee after robbing a jewellery shop in March. It later emerged that the thieves never filed a single shot.

The officer was charged with reckless endangerment for his actions in the incident which resulted in ten shots being fired into the Metropolis gym on Birger Jarlsgatan while several innocent bystanders looked on in horror.

"The reception area was shot to pieces. Right where we were standing, three or four shots came in," Pernilla Gunnskog, a personal trainer who worked at the gym, told the TT news agency.

Gunnskog and two colleagues were standing at the gym's reception desk on March 6th of this year when they heard a loud bang.

"I pulled the other girls to the floor. It was a survival instinct. Then things started popping like crazy. Pieces of bananas from our fruit bowl were flying and so were pieces from the wall. My first thought was that someone was on their way into the gym to shoot us," she said.

All told, the incident resulted in 18 shots being fired by police, who where later criticized for acting like "American cowboys".

On Tuesday, a 33-year-old officer who fired 12 shots – ten of which went into the gym – was charged with reckless endangerment.

According to the indictment, his actions put the lives of the women in the gym at risk.

"The women were in the line of fire. They would have been hit if they had remained standing where they were first standing," prosecutor Håkan Roswall told TT.

The three robbers, who were later sentenced to prison, didn't have real weapons, but had instead pointed a starting pistol at police, who then responded with live fire.

The attorney for the officer who has been charged told TT that his client denies committing any crime.

"A robber pointed his weapon straight at him. He has the right to defend himself and his colleagues," said defence attorney Peter Althin to TT.

According to Althing, the 33-year-old officer didn't realize there was a gym behind the robbers or that there were people inside.

Included in the evidence are film clips recorded by other witnesses to the shooting. The prosecutor intends to show that the officer who has been charged could have taken cover behind parked cars.

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

08:02 October 3, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
The police officer's shooting was admitedly reckless, and could have led to friendly fire casulties (for which the criminals would have to accept some part of the blame, or possibly all of it), and extra training and discipline might help out here, but the prosecutor's suggestion that the police officer should have run and hid behind a car makes no sense.

First of all you cannot outrun a bullet, and secondly if a criminal is in a crowded area, and is pointing a gun at police officers or others as if he intends to shoot them, why can't a police sharp shooter put down the threat to himself and his colleagues and the public?

If that Brazilian idiot got hold of a gun , and if all the police and security that stood between him and the King 'hid behind cars' because Gamla Stan is full of tourists and shops, then the nation's flags might have been at half mass this week for the King's state funeral.
09:24 October 3, 2012 by engagebrain
Reason wrote

' why can't a police sharp shooter put down the threat'

Their performance suggests they were not sharpshooters.
09:58 October 3, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ #2

Agree. My main point is that I do not want violent criminals, who already have every posiible advantage on their side in this country, to have an added comfort of knowing that if policeman shoots toward them and misses, that policeman could be arrested and lose his/her job.

The criminal pointed a weapon at an armed police officer and should have been prepared to face the consequences of that act.. Thinking to more serious possibilities, if there is a Mumbai style attack, I do not want all the policemen and military to 'hide behind cars', for fear that they will be arrested for firing at criminals or terrorists.

And why is their talk of dimissal of this police officer when ambulance drivers face no dismissal threat after gross derreliction of duty, by making a 90 second shift change in what might have been the middle of someone's heart attack?
10:24 October 3, 2012 by RobinHood
Swedish police are notorious for blasting away at the slightest provocation. In Gothenburg, they once shot a drunk on a bus. Film taken during the EU meeting riots shows a policeman firing an entire clip randomly into a crowd of people. They once shot dead a mentally disturbed man in front of his mother. She had called the police for a bit of support in calming him down. The police arrived and while she begged them to leave, they killed her son. I once saw the police arrest a man at gunpoint while he was filling his car with petrol; firearms and tens of thousands of litres of petrol in a public place are not good bedfellows, and in my army, any soldier who did such a reckless thing would have been courtmarshalled, imprisoned and cashiered. As for the policewoman who left her weapon in the toilet at IKEA; well ..........

There seems to be minimum training, minimum supervision and usually no consequences for poor judgement, or unstable personalities. I have received extensive training with firearms, and recommend that readers keep as much distance, and as many solid objects as possible between themself and any Swedish policeman holding a firearm.
11:09 October 3, 2012 by Viking1
How do you file a shot?
12:46 October 3, 2012 by Borilla
Just another example of the ill-trained Swedish police at work. As long as the system remains as it is there will be no end to such incidents. The "defense" that the policeman did not know there was a gym behind the criminals when he started blasting away is ridiculous. This was Birger Jarlsgatan! There is some facility exposing citizens to such danger everywhere. Regardless of the trigger-happy comments, police have no right to start shooting (even returning fire, if there is danger to the public by doing so. Clearly, the ones who were not in danger of being hit were the criminals. For those concerned about Dead-eye Dick, the policeman, remember that this is Sweden. He is in no more danger from the judiciary than is a criminal. Even less, because the old boy network will take care of him.
20:52 October 3, 2012 by DAVID T
He should be fired for being a bad shot - 18 shots fired and they manage to miss all 3 robbers?
08:32 October 7, 2012 by woodywood
@ Robinhood

Petrol and standard hand gun ammo are fine, no spark and it is not so easy to just light it on fire and have a "Hollywood" explosion. Get your facts straight before popping off as some Army expert...

The officers have the right to shoot at anyone who is holding a gun, if said gun is a start pistol, they can check before they start shooting.

Also, if they don't hit their mark with their shots it is probably because they were simply sending a lot of rounds their way in a "supressive fire" manner. Something I can understand when you think you are going to be shot.
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