• Sweden's news in English

'Starting pistol' sparked wild Stockholm shootout

The Local/dl · 14 Mar 2012, 07:38

Published: 14 Mar 2012 07:38 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The Stockholm officers who responded to the March 6th jewellery shop burglary in Östermalm have been criticized for acting like “American Cowboys” after unleashing a hail of bullets as frightened bystanders ducked for cover.

On Monday it was revealed that the robbers hadn’t fired a single shot in the ordeal, while police are believed to have fired 16 gunshots in response, many of which crashed through the window of a nearby gym.

It was also unclear whether or not the robbers were in fact armed at the time of the midday shootout.

But on Tuesday, prosecutor Håkan Roswall explained that at least one of the assailants was indeed armed – with a starting pistol.

“I know that at least one of the robbers had a starting pistol that was loaded with cartridges meant for that purpose,” he told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“It fires like a regular [gun], but no bullet comes out.”

The preliminary findings of the ongoing investigation are that the robbers fired blanks at police with the starting pistol.

As a result, argued Roswall, the officers were justified in returning fire in self defence.

Story continues below…

“If it’s the case that you hear a shot, even if you don’t feel a bullet whizzing by, and have a weapon pointed at you, you have the right to defend yourself,” he told the newspaper.

No one was injured in the incident, and the three robbers were arrested on the scene.

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

08:18 March 14, 2012 by gpafledthis
I await the first apology from those damn "social swedes" who EVEN thought the police were likely wrong !! In a gunfight you leave caution at home "quick or DEAD" a gun is much more than "if it walks and talks like a duck" I'll go pull a feather and triple check !!
09:23 March 14, 2012 by RobinHood
Does the prosecutor have anything to say about the police spraying bullets all over Stockholm hitting several unrelated buildings, but miraculously missing the dozens of passers by who happened to be down range?
09:25 March 14, 2012 by Gletta
So did the people in the gym have the right to defend themselves when they had real bullets whizzing by?

Why do people try to defend to undefendable, the method of operations is flawed and only by luck not fatally this time.
09:45 March 14, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
I want to know why no one is mad at the criminals here? All I hear is police bashing. A criminal was robbing a store and pulled a gun on the cops... end of story. What the police did afterward is commendable and praiseworthy. Sure, they are bad shots, but not everyone is like dirty harry. I think we need to praise these cops for putting themselves in the line of harm to protect us from people like this who rob stores in broad day light.
10:15 March 14, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
The response of the police now makes more sense than yesterday.

There are many tragic incidents (not yet in Sweden, as far as I am aware) where young teenagers have been shot and killed by police when only holding realistic-looking toy handguns.

Firing a starter pistol could even more easily lead to the same result, and these adult criminals need to accept responsibility for the danger that they created for themselves in this situation. The hard facts of reality are that you can get arrested for a one line joke about a bomb at an airport, and you get killed if you fire blanks at police officers.

In addition to reviews on police procedure, I wonder if there is any discussion on the types of munitions. For example maybe hollow point bullets would flatten and break into bits after smashing through a window, so that the chances of a lethal injury are a lot less to people a few meters inside the window, than to a shooter in front of the window.

Of course as almost everyone has said, better aim might have helped, and ideally a brick wall as a backdrop rather than a window, although difficult to judge from the safety of a computer screen vs what a police officer can do when he/she fears that they are facing a potential hail of deadly bullets from the criminals.
10:27 March 14, 2012 by stevo1
Well done Swedish Police, it is difficult to hit a target from a long distance using a pistol, with adrenaline flowing thinking you are being fired upon.

Some people think firing a pistol is like a Hollywood movie, they criticize having never shot a weapon in the first place. Maybe if you all were issued with rifles with laser sights, you would have three headless criminals going to the morgue, but alas, rifles dont fit well into waist or shoulder holsters.

Also, maybe your sergeant can give the criminologist a kick in the balls next time he-her sees him, what a tosser, some professionals need to shut their holes, especially when they dont have the field experience necessary to comment in the first place.
12:20 March 14, 2012 by GLO
First, you shoot when you see robbers with only one gun. You dont get a second chance if you are killed. Second, Police are not very well trained if they cant hit target from this distance and no of shots fired, One robber should have been hit......
13:26 March 14, 2012 by foxpur
I'm kinda wondering what distracted the cop that the shot hit the window of a Gym.
15:02 March 14, 2012 by Dazzler
The only sense of outrage I have is the complete lack of skill the Polis have, there should of been a minimum of 2 shitbag robbers dead in the street, instead of some panes of glass unrelated to the target area.
17:10 March 14, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
As a former US Marine that was in Afghanistan, I can tell you that when the sh** hits the fan, everything happens very fast and you don't have time to sight in, take a deep breath, relax, hold your breath and squeeze the trigger till it breaks and follow through the trigger cycle. That is on the range, real life is hectic and most people are all over the place, especially with a handgun which is only meant to engage people from a few meters away. I think the fact the police in Sthlm VERY rarely have to pull and fire is why the shots were so bad. A NYC cop is much more used to this so things would of been much messier. Might have been subconscious that the cop didn't want to kill a person as well, that is seen in a lot of cases... who are we to second guess.
19:18 March 14, 2012 by OUIJA
Has anyone seen the "starting pistol"? Has the police shown the "starting pistol" Did the robber ate the "starting pistol" after shooting with it? Where is the "starting pistol"

Oh, wait. The "starting pistol" is now the excuse for the police stupidity of shooting wildly and almost killing women ready to start their gym training.

How many cops did the shootings? One? Two? Three? Because 16 shots were not shoot by one. Maybe two? Maybe three?

The cops involved will be promoted. Bet on that. They are not guilty for their bad training. No sir!

We shall see what we shall see. The end of this soap opera is not near, not at all.
20:47 March 14, 2012 by johan rebel
Anybody committing a robbery who then fires a starting pistol is asking for it. A bullet in the head, to be specific. Swedish cops need to improve their marksmanship.

Oh, by the way, all 16 shots were fired by one and the same cop.
20:57 March 14, 2012 by gpafledthis
They are called "frangible" bullets ! The idea that with more crooks shot the cops would gain OJT (on the job training) is also good ! the marine vet is so right about the "fog of battle" The general level here rises above the usual SO I suspect most comments are by NON swedes !!
08:01 March 15, 2012 by ameribrit
@bourgeoisieboheme. No such thing as an ex Marine, marine! ;-)

My experience backs up what you are saying, only I was Cavalry. There is a reason that 2000 rounds are fired in a skirmish with casualties in the low single figures. It is really not easy to hit someone moving with a rifle let alone a sidearm.

@johan rebel, One cop fired all 16 rounds? Really? So he had to stop and reload. That is just tragic if true.
08:12 March 15, 2012 by OUIJA
@ameribritt # 14

I believe that @johan rebel was being sarcastic. If not, he needs some lessons on weapons, unless he thinks that one cop was using a Kalashnikov.

The other cops were cheering while having a "fikalpaus"..Sipi.
11:36 March 15, 2012 by flintis
Target practice seems to be the order of the day
13:34 March 15, 2012 by rohermoker
I always wonder the knowlage base of the comments. When someone posta on how stupid the police were in a shooting situation, and how "they who know so much would have handeled it" it show their true colours. No matter what the police would have done, it would be wrong. and those who know better are in the wrong job, it is time they move into a job were they will have a better chance of making true world change, other than posting coments on a news site, time to send an application to Interpol
19:21 March 15, 2012 by OUIJA
@rohermoker # 17

If the police shoots against the windows of a gym, that is wrong, right?

If the police shoots 16 shots for one of the still mysterious "starting pistol", that is wrong, right?

If the police creates chaos and disorder because of it clumsy

way of handling a situation, that is wrong, right?

I could explain you the knowledge I have for my comments, but I believe it would be a waste of time.
19:25 March 16, 2012 by tadchem
He certainly started something.
23:10 March 16, 2012 by Bushyblondehead
Next time they can call in the criticizers to go in first in all cases like this! Just make sure they still have on their diapers.
23:38 March 16, 2012 by Swedishmyth
Ah yes, the King's Knights. I prefer a nation of riflemen and sheriffs over subjects and rulers.
Today's headlines
Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission-free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available