No explanation for reservist’s shooting spree

Police say they cannot explain why a young Swedish army reservist shot a girl and then took his own life in a Stockholm suburb on Sunday.

“We have done a routine house search and confiscated a computer and a number of other items, but we have no explanation for what happened,” said detective inspector Per Håkansson, who is leading the police investigation.

The 17-year old girl was injured in the leg in the attack in Täby, a suburb north of Stockholm. She was not known to the man, a member of Sweden’s National Home Guard.

Police say they have not found any letters from the man. Håkansson said he could not comment on media reports that the man had been psychologically unstable for some time.

Police say they believe that the man fired around twenty shots with his AK4 service rifle before turning the gun on himself.

“It is hard to be certain. We are now trying to count empty shell casings to get an idea,” said Håkansson. He added that he did not know where the ammunition came from.

“Members of the National Home Guard are not allowed to have ammunition at home, and we have no explanation as to why he had it.”

The 17-year old girl was shot in the calf. She is said to be doing well given the circumstances. Police investigators say there was no connection between the man and the girl.

Claes Johansson, a gun expert at the National Police Board, criticized the fact that reservists have free access to weapons at home.

New rules were introduced in 2000 covering the storage of civilian guns. It had previously been enough to store parts from the gun separately in different parts of the home. It is now obligatory for civilians with guns to keep them in a steel gun cabinet. However, the old rules still apply to Home Guard members, with the additional condition that each gun is equipped with a lock that disables it.

“As I see it, if you are in charge of a gun you take upon yourself a number of responsibilities, including having a secure gun cabinet,” said Johansson.

“I can understand that the armed forces chose for financial reasons not to take up that option, so I suggested two solutions: firstly that guns are kept in a central store, alternatively that the commanding officer keeps the key to the gun lock. That would have meant we avoided what has happened now.”