Monday’s papers reported that a conflict between immigrants in the area and local neo-Nazis was behind the killing, but police sought to play down the speculation.
The 14 year old, James Waite, was among 30 youngsters aged between 14 and 18 who had congregated in a waterside barbecue area near Norrviken in Sollentuna. According to Aftonbladet, “some of the people at the party had xenophobic views and wore typical skinhead clothes like bomber jackets, bleached jeans, boots and braces. Several of the boys also had shaved heads.”
At around 9.30pm a group of youths “with immigrant backgrounds” arrived at the area, known as ‘the bay of love’. Patrick Andersson, 14, told Aftonbladet that they immediately singled James – who was also dressed in the skinhead style – out from the crowd.
“The immigrants went straight up to James Waite and asked him ‘Are you racist or Nazi?’ There were many who were dressed like him but they went straight for him.”
Andersson described how the gang then punched and kicked James Waite to the ground, screaming, “you’re going to die”. In the melee, the 16 year old allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed James in the chest. He died in an ambulance on the way to Karolinska hospital.
Monday’s Dagens Nyheter explained that police arrested the 16 year old after gathering information from several witnesses.
The 16 year old’s lawyer, Hans Ahlstedt, told Expressen that he is a “well-adjusted guy”.
“He gets on well in school and plays football in his free time,” he said. “He is no different to my own children.”
While Ahlstedt painted a rosy picture of his client, Stockholm police attempted to dampen early speculation that the murder was race-related.
“Throughout Sunday we have been able to get a better picture of what happened,” said Mats Nylén, a Stockholm police spokesman, to DN.
“We have interviewed a lot of witnesses. The investigators emphasise that at the moment there is nothing to indicate that this could have been a racist murder.”
But his words were undermined by the news that a number of racist groups have already described James Waite as “a martyr”. And according to Stockholm’s Metro, between 250 and 400 right-wing extremists took part in a demonstration in Sollentuna on Sunday afternoon.
The demonstration was apparently calm, but afterwards a small group attacked a 23 year old man “of foreign appearance” outside a restaurant in the centre of Norrviken.
In Wednesday’s Aftonbladet, James Waite’s family distanced themselves from the “right-wing extremists trying to exploit our child’s tragic death for their own ends”.
They explained that their son had “no racist views at all” and that the clothing was just a phase.
“He was a normal teenager, in the middle of the time when you’re looking for an identity. He often changed his clothing style.”