Two children aged six and seven were struck by ricocheting bullets just south of Stockholm near what police believe was a gang-related shooting.
The shooting took place on Saturday in the southern Stockholm suburb of Flemingsberg at around 8 pm, and the two young children were injured as they were walking on the footbridge.
Both children suffered wounds to their legs and were taken to hospital, but were found to have non-life-threatening injuries, Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reports.
Police say that the two children were out playing when the incident took place and were not the targets of the gunfire. The incident is believed to be linked to local criminal gang networks. Another person involved in the incident also received gunshot wounds.
Officers later arrested nine people in connection with the shooting, and at least two have links to criminal gangs. Some face possible charges of attempted murder.
Malmö Shooting Suspects Overwhelmingly from Migrant Backgrounds https://t.co/pN0x73IFAY
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 24, 2019
Justice and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson, a member of the ruling Social Democrats, said: “It is a very tragic event. No one should be subject to such a thing during their childhood. Just the very idea of being out playing, being five or six years old, and being shot makes you really think about their development and what a tremendous trauma it must entail.”
“This shows once again that the gangs have no respect whatsoever for human life. They don’t care about the consequences of their actions at all,” he added.
The shootings come just under a year after a 12-year-old girl was shot and killed by a stray bullet on the sidelines of another gang-related shooting, also in the south of Stockholm.
Fatal shootings, particularly related to criminal gang activity, have soared in Sweden in recent years, with a report released in May stating the country led Europe in its level of fatal shootings.
Some, such as Police Commissioner Erik Nord, have linked the rise in fatal shootings to mass migration.
Report: Sweden Top in Europe for Deadly Gun Violence https://t.co/idRuyqndyS
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 27, 2021
“It is no longer a secret today that much of the problem of gang and network crime with the shootings and explosions have been linked to migration to Sweden in recent decades,” Nord said.
“When, like me, you have the opportunity to follow matters at the individual level, you see that virtually everyone who shoots or is shot in gang conflicts originates from the Balkans, the Middle East, North or East Africa,” he added.