Strong emotions in Sweden: 12-year-old girl dies in shooting linked to criminal gangs
Sylvie Claire / August 3, 2020
The shooting death of a 12-year-old girl near Stockholm sparked a stir in Sweden on Monday, amid a worrying rise in shootings linked to criminal gangs for several years.
The teenager, who was in all likelihood not targeted, was fatally injured overnight Saturday through Sunday outside a fast food restaurant in Norsborg, a modest but usually quiet suburb in the south of the Swedish capital, police said.
Since the incident, flowers and candles have been placed to form a heart at the scene of the crime, an AFP reporter noted.
“This must not happen again. She's a 12 year old girl, damn it. Those who live here deserve better, ”says Christina Lundström, a 51-year-old local resident who came to meditate. "No politician is there to show their support, what a fiasco," said Daniel Acat, 32.
Justice Minister Morgan Johansson told TT news agency his "shock and disgust" at a widely-held case.
According to Swedish media, two members of a criminal gang present at the scene were the real targets of the numerous shots.
Globally peaceful with one of the lowest homicide rates in the world, Sweden has for several years been confronted with a problem of explosions and shootings targeting buildings, vehicles and, more recently, people.
In the first half of 2020, 20 people were killed in 163 shootings in Sweden, according to police. Last year, 42 people were killed in 334 incidents.
Cases are rarely resolved, but according to the Swedish Crime Prevention Council, the increase in cases is linked to drug trafficking. In 2019, the government unveiled 34 measures to combat the problem, including increased numbers and penalties.
Besides Stockholm and its suburbs, the phenomenon hits the cities of Malmö, Göteborg, or Helsinborg.
The debate came to a head last August when two women were gunned down within weeks of each other, including one in broad daylight in Malmö as she carried her infant - who survived - in her arms.
The girl killed this weekend is not the youngest victim: in 2015, a 4-year-old was killed along with three adults in a car bomb explosion.