The shooting incident on May 13th has been widely cited as the spark that ignited the unrest in Stockholm suburbs in which rioters torched over 150 cars and dozens of buildings.
“He has given a detailed explanation of what happened in that apartment and denies committing any crime,” the police officer’s lawyer, Johan Eriksson, told Sveriges Radio (SR).
The 69-year-old man was shot and killed in his apartment in the west Stockholm suburb of Husby. Police were called to the address after local residents reportedly said they felt threatened by the man, who was holding what some said appeared to be a machete.
The man’s wife was also in the apartment when the police stormed it an effort to get him out. According to the police, they first tried to subdue the man with a flash grenade, which proved unsuccessful. One officer then opened fire, fatally shooting him.
On Tuesday, the Finnish Swedish-language newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet (HBL) reported that the victim, reportedly a Portuguese man married to a Finnish woman, may have been wielding a puukko knife, a traditional hunting knife, and not a machete.
The wife’s brother Risto Kajanto, who lives in Finland, told the newspaper that he was shocked to hear his brother-in-law had been shot by police in Stockholm.
“I didn’t believe that it could be true, I only believed it once I’d read about it in the paper,” he told HBL.
The police officer, who is in his thirties and joined the police force in 2008, was questioned for the first time on Wednesday. He admitted to shooting the 69-year-old but said it was not an unlawful act as he was being attacked.
“Whether it was the right thing to do in this situation is something that the lawyers will have to consider,” said Eriksson.
The prosecutor, who has also questioned other witnesses, would not comment on the investigation, according to SR.
Eriksson did not want to go into any detail either but said that some of the media reports about the incident have been incorrect.
“I have read newspapers and listened to radio and watched TV and one can conclude that there is a description out there of the sequence of events which is incorrect,” he said.
“For instance, when it comes to how many shots were fired inside that apartment. I believe I have heard one report which said that 15 shots were fired in that apartment and that is not true. It has not happened,” said Eriksson.
Eriksson said the suspect and his family are going through a rough time. The police officer received protected personal data during the riots, which started on May 19th but have since quieted down.
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