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Police kill knife-wielding man at refugee home

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Police kill knife-wielding man at refugee home
Police on the scene where the fatal shooting took place. Photo: Linn Malmén/TT
08:31 CET+01:00
Swedish police fatally shot a knife-wielding man outside a home for asylum seekers in central Sweden after responding to complaints that a heavily intoxicated man was terrorizing residents.

When officers arrived on the scene at the facility, located in Geijersholm, the man attacked the officers with a knife. 

"The man is born 1968. He is not a Swedish citizen, but I don't know if he was a resident," police spokesman Tommy Lindh told the TT news agency after the shooting at 9pm on Tuesday.

Later in the day it emerged that the 45-year.-old man was an asylum seeker who came alone to Sweden in October. He has no relatives in Sweden and had been living in Geijersholm for the last two weeks.

While Swedish police are instructed to first fire a warning shot, then aim at a suspect's leg before resorting to potentially fatal shots to the torso, Lind underscored that not all scenarios permitted that caution. On Tuesday evening, a  police officer fired and missed as the man advanced towards him and his colleagues. A second shot by the same officers brought him down. 

The block of flats in question is a former residential centre for pensioners, dubbed Paradise by local residents, some of whom heard the shooting. They are rented as more permanent housing where new arrivals can live on their own, as opposed to temporary housing facilities where several refugees are housed in one facility.

"There are quite a few residents there, including quite a few children," Migration Board (Migrationsverket) spokesman Fredrik Bengtsson said.

Local government officials criticized the Migration Board for not having staff present at the time of the incident, a complaint rejected by Bengtsson who explained that the flat where the shooting occurred was one "where people live just like anyone else".

"That betrays a someone different view of people. That labels asylum seekers who live in regular apartments as violent and troublemakers," he told TT.

Mikael Dahlqvist, the Social Democrat chair of the local Hagförs council who leveled the complaint, added that he fears the incident may fan the flames of xenophobia.

"This probably stems from a tragic and isolated incident, but it nevertheless foments xenophobic sentiments. We have a lot of asylum seekers relative to the size of our population and there has been increasing resistance lately," he told TT.

The Migration Board doesn't plan to investigate the matter, explaining that it's a matter for the police to address.

"If there is a disturbance, that's a matter for the police," said Bengtsson.

The police will also launch an internal investigation into the actions of the officer who fired the fatal shot.

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