Police suspect they were targeted in Uppsala hand grenade revenge attack

One person has been arrested following a small explosion close to a police station in Uppsala, a Swedish city north of Stockholm, on Monday evening.

Police suspect they were targeted in Uppsala hand grenade revenge attack
Police investigate the area. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Unnamed police sources told the TT newswire that the blast was caused by a hand grenade that went off in a car park around 50 metres from the station but on the other side of the railway running through the town. The sources said that police officers had been nearby at the time.

Police spokespeople did not immediately confirm, but after bomb technicians had concluded their investigation they issued an update saying there was “a lot that suggests a hand grenade detonated”.

TT reported that the item was thrown at police officers at the scene, but bounced off a pole or wire above the railway and therefore did not land closer to the officers.

The suspect, a 20-year-old man, was arrested after bomb technicians worked at the scene through the night while police were in a 'state of readiness'. According to Sannervik, the state of readiness means that police have created a special organization for investigative and security measures related to the incident.

“It's partly due to the magnitude, partly because we need to bring in staff from other regions and units,” she explained.

“There were lots of people around, both residents and police officers; it was pure chance that no one was injured,” Carin Götblad, the local head of police, told media at a press conference on Tuesday, which addressed police work to tackle organized crime.

“There's a lot that suggests yesterday evening's explosion was directed at police,” she added.

Police said they believe it was a revenge attack following a police operation in the Gottsunda/Valsätra area of Uppsala in recent days. However, they said they are investigating a number of theories.

The blast took place at around 11pm on Monday, causing damage to eight cars. However, none of the damaged cars were police vehicles.

No one was injured, but police are treating the incident as devastation endangering the public and attempted murder.

In October, the Swedish government promised to increase protection for police following a series of apparently targeted attacks.

The announcement came days after man was arrested for attempted murder in Västerås after firing at least 12 shots at a police officer's home, and on the same night a police station in Växjö, southern Sweden was attacked with fireworks and cobblestones.

Several of the violent attacks are thought to be linked to local gangs.

READ ALSO: Police station damaged by blast in southern Sweden


Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.