HELSINKI (AP) — A 15-year-old boy was killed and another teenager was in critical condition after a shooting in a busy square in the southern city of Malmo, Swedish police said Sunday. Similar incidents and explosions in Malmo recently have alarmed politicians and residents.
Malmo police said the slain boy was one of two people hit after unknown assailants opened fire into a pizza parlor at about 9 p.m. on Saturday. Witnesses saw the attackers flee on bicycles.
The shooting took place just minutes after an explosion in another Malmo district where a bomb set under a car detonated, destroying the vehicle and damaging other cars.
Police couldn’t say yet if the two incidents were linked and did not yet identify suspects in either case.
Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, chairwoman of local municipality council, told Swedish broadcaster SVT she was concerned Saturday’s events would escalate the spiral of violence seen in past years in Malmo, a city of some 320,000 residents.
“It is every parent’s nightmare to lose a child. It’s been a heavy and black night in Malmo,” Stjernfeldt Jammeh said, adding that Swedish police consider many similar incidents in the past to be linked and gang-related.
“We’ve been in this situation before with similar events. This is what the police have warned about, namely an escalation of cruel and reckless violence in Malmo,” she said.
Explosions and shootings in the past few years in Malmo, Sweden’s third-largest city, have been linked mainly to organized crime and feuding gangs.
Ulf Kristersson, leader of the center-right opposition Moderate Party, urged Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to act quickly to curb the violence.
Local resident Jacob Bjorkander told Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan that he had been cycling near the pizza parlor with his two young children the night of the shooting.
“It’s regrettable, absolutely awful, and lacking in any respect,” Bjorkander told Sydsvenskan “This should be the end of it. It’s gone too far. People should be out on the streets showing what they think, that we don’t want this in our town.”
Swedish news agency TT said five fatal shootings and 29 explosions, including Saturday’s incidents, have taken place in Malmo this year, figures substantially lower than during all of 2018, according to police statistics.