Shooter eyed in more unsolved Malmö killings

Police in Malmö are looking into whether 38-year-old Peter Mangs, who is in custody for a recent spate of racist shootings, may have also been involved in other unsolved murders from years past.

Shooter eyed in more unsolved Malmö killings

Among the unsolved cases are two murders which took place in the Lindängen neighbourhood of Malmö in 2003. Both the victims had immigrant backgrounds, the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper reports.

One of the murdered men received a mysterious phone call from a shooting club, according to the victim’s son. Police are interested in the conversation because Mangs was a member of the same shooting club in Malmö.

Mangs was arrested on Saturday after a tip from a member of the public. Police have confirmed only his age, that he “has a Swedish background” and that he does not have any previous criminal convictions.

A possible motive for the attacks has not been released by the police, but Mangs’ father was quoted by the Aftonbladet daily on Monday as saying that his son “lived in fear of immigrants taking over Swedish society.”

On Tuesday, Mangs was remanded in custody on suspicion of one murder and five attempted murders. He has continually denied the charges against him.

Prosecutor Solveig Wollstad said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that suspicions against Mangs had strengthened and that he remains suspected for a further two attempted murders which were not addressed in the remand hearing.

But police nevertheless remain tight-lipped about the ongoing investigation. Lars Mahler, a detective with the Malmö police, cited a court sanctioned non-disclosure order in refusing to elaborate on reports that Mangs might be connected with the 2003 killings.

“Generally speaking, we’d like to see all crimes get solved. If there is a possibility of doing so, obviously we’re going to try to do so,” he told the TT news agency.

The fact that seven years have passed since the two unsolved murders took place shouldn’t pose any problems for continuing the investigation.

“Everything depends on which leads we have to act on. An opening can occur pretty quickly, for example through a seizure or someone suddenly starting to talk. There are always possibilities to clear up a crime,” said Mahler.

The older murders have much in common with the recent Malmö shootings Mangs is suspected of carrying out.

In mid-June 2003, a 66-year-old man was found shot in his apartment in Lindängen. About a month later, at the end of July, a 23-year-old man was shot dead outside his home when he was on his way to work.

The men had immigrant backgrounds and were completely unknown to the police. Both had lived quiet, unassuming lives in the same neighbourhood.

Both were shot with a 9-millimetre gun.

But there are also differences, between both the 2003 killings and the recent shootings which have kept Malmö on edge for several weeks.

The older man who was shot in 2003 was also robbed and his bank card used to withdraw money from his account. But the 23-year-old victim’s wallet was found beside him, untouched.

Due to a lack of evidence, police began to investigate the killings as one case, and the national police profiling group was also brought in to assist in the case.

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Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.