‘Starting pistol’ sparked wild Stockholm shootout

'Starting pistol' sparked wild Stockholm shootout
A jewellery store robber armed with nothing more than a starting pistol prompted police to fire at least a dozen gun shots in central Stockholm last week, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

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.

“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.

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