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CRIME

Man dead in Sweden shopping mall shooting was target: police

The man who has died in a shooting at a shopping centre in Sweden was the target of the attack, police said on Saturday, as a woman hurt in the same attack remained in hospital.

Man dead in Sweden shopping mall shooting was target: police
Police and guards on site at the emergency room at Skåne University Hospital in Malmö on Saturday night after one person was killed and another injured in a shooting at the Emporia shopping centre in Malmö on August 19 2022. Photo: Johan Nilsson / TT

A man and a woman were wounded in a shooting at a mall in the southern city of Malmo on Friday, with the man eventually succumbing to his injuries, the police said in a statement, adding that the woman was receiving medical treatment.

Everything indicated that the 31-year-old man was the intended target of the shooting, Petra Stankula, Malmö chief of police, said at a police press conference about the shooting on Saturday morning, Swedish newswire TT reported.

The woman who was seriously injured was “probably just a passerby”, Stankula added.

According to Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, the dead man was the leader of a criminal gang in Malmö.

Over the last 12 months, several explosions and shootings have been linked to a conflict between the gang and another network.

 “Firing in shopping mall is absolutely pitiless with a total disregard for others’ lives,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told a press conference while on the campaign trail in Malmo.

Police earlier said they had arrested the suspected shooter – a 15-year-old boy – in the incident in the southern city of Malmo.

They ruled out a possible “terrorist” motive and said the shooting appeared to be “an isolated incident connected to criminal groups”.

However, they said others may be involved in the crime, but at the moment only the boy is a suspect, Dagens Nyheter said.

Local media quoted eyewitnesses as saying the suspect had shot indiscriminately into the crowd, but the police did not confirm this.

“We believe that the immediate danger is now over,” a police spokeswoman said.

According to Swedish newswire TT, the police declined to give any further information about the suspect or whether they were already known to the police.

On Friday evening, people gathered outside the emergency room at Skåne University hospital where there was a large police presence. 

Train traffic was also halted after the incident and, at the time of writing, no trains were stopping at Hyllie station, which serves the shopping centre, one of Scandinavia’s largest.

The shopping centre itself would be closed on Saturday, but crisis managers would be on site offering support to anyone who needed it, Per Erik Ebbeståhl, security manager for the city of Malmö, said at Saturday’s police press conference. 

In July, three people were killed in a shooting in a shopping mall in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, around 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Malmo.

Crime has become an important issue weeks ahead of elections.

Sadly, 2022 is on track to becoming a record year for shootings in Sweden – from January to May, more than 30 people were shot dead in Sweden.

In the same period in previous years, there has been an average of 17 fatal shootings.

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CRIME

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.

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