A police officer in his thirties was fatally shot while on patrol in a “vulnerable area” of Gothenberg, Sweden, in what one person with knowledge of the investigation claimed was an “execution”. While a criminal clan crime gang source told local media that it will be difficult for investigators to find the perpetrator because “if you kill a policeman, you do not act alone” and clans won’t tolerate “rats”.
The police officer, who was new to the role, was fatally shot on Höstvädersgatan in Biskopsgården, Gothenberg, on Wednesday night. He had been shot at around 10:30 pm, but despite the best efforts of medics, succumbed to his wounds in hospital in the early hours of Thursday. So far, there are no suspects, and a police operation is ongoing in the area.
Dagens Nyheter reports that Biskopsgården is one of the city’s vulnerable areas, also known as no-go zones, which are deprived, high-crime neighbourhoods sometimes known for violent clashes between interethnic gangs and shootings. Last year, Biskopsgården was one of Gothenberg’s “particularly vulnerable” areas to have received funds to improve conditions in the district, including for new infrastructure projects and security.
Klas Johansson, the regional police chief, said during a press conference on Thursday that the deceased had been in Biskopsgården because there had been “conflicts” in the area, which had been the subject of security-increasing measures by the police. SVT reports the officer had been with his colleague and was standing and talking to some people when he was shot.
At the press conference, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven called the shooting “an attack on our rule of law as well as on our entire democratic open society” — similar tough words to when he called the bombing of a police station in Helsingborg in 2017 “an attack on our democracy”. Yet in the intervening years, some Swedish cities have seen record explosions and a surge of fatal shootings, with Sweden now the top country in Europe for deadly gun violence.
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Jimmie Åkesson, the leader of the populist Sweden Democrats, called the killing “unspeakably tragic”.
“There is much to be said about the political betrayal of Sweden’s security in general and the disrespectful view of the Swedish police in particular. Right now, however, my thoughts are with the victim’s family and other relatives,” Mr Åkesson wrote.
While Dagens Nyheter reports that it is unclear whether the officer was the target, a person with knowledge of the investigation told Expressen that police consider the killing as being “an execution”.
“What I can say is, that they aimed straight at this policeman. It was like an execution,” the source said, continuing that it did not appear the shooting was a “mistake or the like”.
“We do not know if they were looking for this specific policeman or if they only aimed at him because he was looking for a policeman in general. But all indications are that they shot straight at the policeman and that he was the target of the shot,” the source said.
A source from a clan crime gang told Expressen that it will “be tough for the police to find the perpetrator”.
“If you kill a policeman, you do not act alone. People also know that the person who ‘rats’ gets into trouble. No one dares to contact the police and inform on who is behind the murder,” the clan source said.
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The gang member also said that fellow criminals in Biskopsgården have been “annoyed” by the increased police presence in recent weeks.
“As soon as they see more than two people who belong to different gangs or a clan in one place, the police come forward and stand near them visibly,” they said.
“The other day, there were two men from a famous clan — they were standing on a street near the square and were armed. A policeman stood nearby. As soon as they saw him, they left. It’s the police’s new way of showing gang members and clan members that they exist. It has annoyed them a lot,” the clan source added.