Three charged with arms violation in Gothenburg

Three charged with arms violation in Gothenburg
The three were arrested a day after the deadly shooting. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
Three men, arrested a day after the Gothenburg attack that rocked Sweden, have been charged on suspicion of arms violation. Police say they cannot rule out a possible link to Wednesday’s deadly shooting that left two people dead and eight others injured.

The men, aged 18, 20 and 27, were arrested 24 hours after at least two masked gunmen armed with machine guns stormed a busy restaurant in Sweden’s second largest city, spraying it with bullets and killing a 20-year-old and a 25-year-old. Several witnesses say a third man filmed the attack.

Early on in the investigation, police said they believed the shooting was gang-related, triggered by an on-going feud.

On Thursday – a day after the shooting – the three men were arrested after police found several arms in the car they were travelling in.  On Sunday, a Gothenburg district court charged the trio on suspicion of “seriously” violating the country’s gun laws. All three have denied the charges. None of them have been charged with suspected involvement in the shooting, however.

“Police are saying that they can’t rule out a link (to the deadly shooting). And in that sense that’s correct; nothing can really be ruled out,” Peter Gillberg, the lawyer of the youngest suspect, told news agency TT.

Police would not say what type of weapons were found in the vehicle, but the seriousness of the charges filed by the court indicate that there was either a great amount, or especially dangerous weapons in the car.

“They had two Kalashnikovs in the car and are extremely interesting (in the case),” an unnamed police source was quoted as telling tabloid Expressen.

Out of the eight people injured in the attack, one is still in a serious “but stable” condition, and five others are receiving treatment for less serious injuries. Two others have been able to leave hospital.

The shooting rocked Sweden and prompted Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to visit Gothenburg on Friday.

"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," he said during the visit.

He also proposed that Sweden toughen its gun laws.

"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 said.