BLOG: Swedish PM visits mourning Gothenburg
Maddy Savage · 20 Mar 2015, 16:35
Published: 19 Mar 2015 06:32 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Mar 2015 16:35 GMT+01:00
- 'Sweden has had gang problems since the '90s' (19 Mar 15)
- Two dead and eight in hospital after a shooting at a restaurant in Gothenburg
- Shooting took place in Biskopsgården, an area known for gang crime
- Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has visited the city to meet with residents
- Police have found car linked to shootings
That concludes our live blog for today. We will keep you updated over the weekend about any new developments.
Here's a quick round-up of where we're at. Eight people are still in hospital, but none are believed to have life threatening injuries. It is still unclear whether or not three men arrested on suspicion of serious firearm offences are linked to the shooting, police have said.
"I came here because I want to show that this is not just an issue to do with the police and crime, it's an issue for the whole country," Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has told reporters about the reason for his visit.
After meeting with representatives of local organizations, the Swedish Prime Minister has walked to the Vårväders square to lay flowers at the scene of the deadly shooting.
Swedish PM Stefan Löfven paying tributes to Gothenburg shooting victims. Photo: Adam Ihse/ TT
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven opens the door for tightened gun laws in Sweden after the fatal shooting in Gothenburg.
"We must prevent as many weapons as possible from being released on the market and also look at punishments for preparations to commit firearm offences," he tells reporters at a meeting in Biskopsgården on Friday afternoon.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has arrived in Biskopsgården to meet with residents, after cutting short an EU summit in Brussels.
The two murder victims are reported to be a 20-year-old man who was only in the restaurant to pick up food, and a 25-year-old who several Swedish media have reported was previously known to police and is believed to have been the target of the attack. However, police have so far refused to comment the reports.
"I will not make any statements on individuals at this stage or about who or what the culprits were after," police spokesman Björ Blixte told TT.
Gothenburg police hope to be able to say this afternoon whether or not the three men arrested on Thursday night can be linked to the deadly shooting in the Biskopsgården area.
"We have turned the city upside down in our hunt for the guilty people," police spokesman Björ Blixte told Swedish news wire TT.
Police sources speaking to local public broadcaster SVT Västnytt have said they "know" who carried out the fatal shootings. But little official information is emerging as officers continue to quiz three men arrested last night.
Three men have been remanded in custody after they were arrested in Gothenburg on Thursday night on suspicion of serious firearms offences.
Swedish police have said it "cannot be ruled out" that the arrests could be connected to the fatal shooting at Biskopsgården, according to news wire TT. However, press spokesman Christer Fuxborg told public broadcaster SVT that it is too early to say.
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven is set to fly to Gothenburg from Brussels later. On Thursday night, the country's Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman visited the city to meet mourners, police and local politicians.
He told Swedish media that he was committed to taking "further measures" to cut the use of illegal weapons and said that work needed to be done to create "confidence and jobs" in areas currently experiencing high levels of violent crime.
Sweden's Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman
It has emerged that three men were arrested and weapons were seized in the Kungsladugård area of Gothenburg on Thursday night. Police have not commented on whether the incident is linked to the fatal shooting on Wednesday.
7.20am, Friday March 20th
Good morning. We'll be continuing to bring you the key developments on the Gothenburg shooting throughout the day.
A car believed to be linked to the shootings has been found by police. Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet is reporting that the vehicle was discovered two kilometres from the crime scene.
For those of you on Twitter, the hashtags #Göteborg and #Biskopsgården are among the most popular being used to discuss the shooting.
If you speak Swedish you can watch Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's full speech on the Gothenburg shooting. He spoke to Swedish reporters as he arrived in Brussels for an EU summit, while declining to comment on Saudi Arabia's decision to scrap business visas for Swedes.
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has announced that he will visit Gothenburg on Friday, cutting short his attendance at an EU summit in Brussels.
"Now we are down here on an important summit but a big part of my thoughts are in Gothenburg right now," he told Swedish reporters in Brussels.
"We have tightened the penalties for serious gun crimes," he added, saying that he planned to take further action to prevent Swedes from owning illegal weapons and to tackle organize crime in the country.
European Union heads of state and government are currently in the Belgian capital to talk about energy policies, and the crises in Ukraine and Libya. The Greek debt problem will also be discussed at a specially scheduled meeting.
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT
The Local's reporter Emma Löfgren has been speaking to an expert on gang crime in Sweden, who has described it as being on its way to becoming similar to "the Wild West". Click here to read her full interview with Amir Rostami, who is an academic at Stockholm University.
Several mothers in Gothenburg have told The Local about their safety concerns following the shooting.
"It’s just awful; horrendous. As a woman it makes me feel less safe in the city," said Regina, 23.
"There have been problems with gangs on and off over the years. It comes in waves. Things have been under control, we have a really good police force here; but now I guess things are heating up again. It’s scary. I probably won’t really change my behaviour much, to be honest, but it still feels like something of a wake-up call."
Faiza, also 23, added: "The shooting is terrible. It’s really scary that it happened in a local hangout, a public place. You’d think you’d be safe going out to eat. I think about our children and what sort of city they will face when they get older. I like living in Gothenburg though. There are a lot of good things about the city".
Rebecca, 21, a student in Gothenburg has told The Local: "I’ve lived in Biskopsgården for seven years, but I have no plans to move. There are a lot of nice things about living there, so it’s too bad that foreign media are focusing on this incident. I don’t like that there’s violence, but I don’t feel personally insecure".
The Local's Commercial Content Editor David Landes, a former journalist, is in Gothenburg for a business conference and has passed by the scene of the shooting.
"The sun is shining, and the tram stop at Körsvägen feels totally normal," he said.
"Busy commuters and city dwellers are going about their business. However, the shooting has nevertheless left them with an uneasy feeling."
The press conference has now concluded. Gothenburg Council chairwoman Anneli Hulthén has told reporters she's going to try to speak to Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman later today to discuss how to clamp down on illegal weapons in society. "More needs to be done on a national level," she said.
Klas Friberg has told reporters many of the people involved in gang violence are recurring criminals. "This is not something the police alone, but society as a whole, have to find a solution to."
"We are unfortunately used to what happened yesterday here in Gothenburg. But the good thing is that that also means we - the police and the municipality - were able to get the investigation underway immediately last night," Klas Friberg of the regional police has told the press conference.
"Our thoughts are with family, girlfriends, boyfriends and friends who know those who have passed away," Gothenburg Council chairwoman Anneli Hulthén has told the press conference and confirmed crisis centres have been set up in the city.
A press conference with Gothenburg municipality representatives and the police is underway.
Growing inequality, unemployment and poor school results are three factors behind a gang problem in Sweden's major cities, Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman has told the TT news wire.
"No one going to a restaurant in Sweden should have to worry about winding up in a bloodbath," he said.
Here's a bit more background on where the shooting took place:
Police have told The Local that they are not connecting the shooting in Gothenburg to a triple murder in Uddevalla, despite claims in the Swedish media that one of the men killed in the pub violence knew one of those who died in the earlier case.
Press spokesperson Peter Adlersson said: "We will not comment directly on the victims in this case".
He would not confirm how many officers were working on the investigation but said there were "many people working hard".
He added that police were not expecting to hold any further press conferences on the crime on Thursday.
One of the men killed at the bar knew one of the victims of triple murder in Uddevalla in western Sweden earlier this month, a police source has told Swedish newspaper Expressen.
Swedish news network TV4 is reporting that one of the victims worked at the pub where the attack took place. The station says he was 20 years old and no criminal record.
The GP newspaper is reporting that the men involved in the shooting were wearing skull masks and that one was wearing what looked like a police vest.
The press conference has concluded. The Local will keep you updated on any further developments throughout the day.
Sixty people have been taken to court for violent crimes in Gothenburg over the past eighteen months, police have said.
"We have seized nearly 200 weapons including 50 automatic weapons in Gothenburg during this period," spokesperson Klas Friberg told reporters.
"They [the men involved in violent gangs] think about crime 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it's an impossible task for us [the police] to be everywhere at the same time," he said.
"We've been working for several years with serious incidents in Gothenburg where criminal gangs are prepared to use violence. In that way, this (the shooting) doesn't come as a surprise," Police spokesperson Klas Friberg has told the press conference.
Gothenburg police have said they will be working with the national operative police (Rikskriminalpolisen) as part of their investigation but don't want to comment on whether the people involved in the crime were previously known to officers.
Police spokesperson Klas Friberg has described the atttack as a "serious incident, carried out in an inhumane way, completely without any consideration for fellow citizens" and confirmed that of those injured in the attack, two are seriously hurt and one has life-threatening injuries.
The police press conference on the shootings has just got underway.
Swedish radio network P3 has posted this photo from the scene. It is unclear when exactly it was taken.
If you speak Swedish and want to follow developments on Twitter, some of the hashtags being used are #GoteborgShooting, #Göteborg, #Goteborg, #Gothenburg and #svkrim.
Swedish television network SVT's reporter Hanna Nyberg is outside the pub where the attack took place and says there are candles on the pavement and a number of mourners have gathered to pay their respects. Several police officers are also at the scene.
While this shooting has made international headlines, violence in this area is not uncommon. Here's some background on gangs in Gothenburg.
According to police sources speaking to the TT news agency, eight people were injured in the shooting. A 'crisis centre' has opened to assist the friends and families of those affected by the attacks.
Police are preparing to hold a press conference on the shooting within the next half hour.
The attack is not suspected to have been carried out by terrorists, police have said.
"We are assuming that this is gang-related and not a terrorist attack," spokesperson Björ Blixte told the AFP news agency.
"We've had similar problems with shootings for several years but never of this magnitude."
Police have not yet made any arrests, spokesman Peter Adlersson told The Local
Police spokesman Peter Adlersson confirmed to The Local that two people had been killed in the shooting.
"Then we have one person, a man in his twenties, with life-threatening injuries," he said.
"Two others were seriously injured but we have been told that their condition is now stable. They are a man in his thirties and a man in his forties.
"We also have two others in a stable condition, a man aged around 25 and a man in his sixties.
"Three other men suffered minor injuries, two in their early twenties and another aged around 25."
The shooting took place at a pub in Vårväderstorget, a square in the Biskopsgården suburb.
6.30am, Thursday March 19th
Welcome to The Local's live blog on the Gothenburg shooting.
Here's AFP's summary of what details emerged about the violence overnight:
“There was a shooting in a pub. There have been several fatalities and a number of the injured have been brought to hospital,” police spokeswoman Ulla Brehm told the AFP news agency
“An automatic weapon was used... we can't rule out that it's gang-related. We've had problems for some time with gang crime in this area,” she added.
An eyewitness told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet that two people entered the pub in the Gothenburg suburb of Biskopsgården late on Wednesday with weapons that looked like Kalashnikovs and started shooting.
“We were sitting watching the football game when the shooters came in,” the witness said.
Another witness described how fast the shootings occurred.
“I didn't have time to think what was happening. Then I saw that my friend was bleeding. I tried to stop the flow of blood as well as I could with my hands,” a man who gave his name as 'Rocky' told public broadcaster SVT.
Sweden and neighbouring Denmark have a longstanding problem with criminal gangs, including Hells Angels, Bandidos and several immigrant groups which battle for control of the country's drug trade.
There have been dozens of shootings involving criminal gangs in Gothenburg, many of them in the Biskopsgården area – a housing estate with high unemployment – on the island Hisingen, which is part of the city, in recent years. However, fatalities are relatively rare.