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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Swedish terror attacker sentenced to psychiatric care

A court has sentenced the far-right extremist Theodor Engström to psychiatric care for the knife attack he carried out at the Almedalen political festival this summer.

Swedish terror attacker sentenced to psychiatric care

The Gotland district court found the 33-year-old Engström guilty of murdering the psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren, but did not agree that the murder counted as a terror attack.

It did find him guilty, however, of “planning a terror attack”, for his preparations to murder the Centre Party’s leader, Annie Lööf. 

“The murdered woman had a significant role [in society], a murder is always serious, and this had consequences both for Almedalen Week and for society more broadly,” the judge Per Sundberg, said at a press conference. 

The judge Per Sundberg announces the sentence on Theodor Engström on December 6th. Photo: Karl Melander/TT

But he said that the court judged that Sweden’s terror legislation was too restrictively drafted for her murder to count as a terror offence. 

“Despite Ing-Marie Wieselgren’s well-attested position within psychiatry, the court considers that her position as national coordinator at the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions is not such that her murder can in itself be considered to have damaged Sweden. The act cannot as a result be classified as a terrorist crime on those grounds.” 

The court ruled that Engström’s crimes deserved Sweden’s most severe sentence, a life sentence in prison, but found that due to his disturbed mental state he should instead receive “psychiatric care with a special test for release”. 

In its judgement, the court said that an examination by forensic psychiatrists had found both that there were “medical reasons” why Engström should be transferred into a closed psychiatric facility and that “his insight into the meaning of his actions and his ability to adjust his actions according to such insight were at the very least severely diminished”. 

It said that under Swedish law, a court could send someone to prison who was in need of psychiatric care only if there were “special reasons” to do so. 

“The court considers that it has not been shown that Theodor Engström’s need of psychiatric care is so limited that there is a special reason for a prison sentence,” it ruled. 

Lööf wrote on Instagram that the judgement was “a relief”. 

“For me personally, it was a relief when the judgement came,” she wrote. “Engström has also been judged guilty of ‘preparation for a terror attack through preparation for murder’. This means that the the court is taking the threat towards democracy and towards politicians as extremely serious.”

The fact that the court has decided that Engström’s care should have a “special test for release” means that he cannot be discharged from the closed psychiatric hospital or ward where he is treated without a court decision. 

The court must rule both that the mental disorder that led to the crime has abated to the extent that there is no risk of further crimes, and that he has no other mental disorders that might require compulsory psychiatric care. The care has to be reassessed every six months.