Police warn against panic as shooter targets Swedish city

Swedish police today warned residents of the southern city of Malmoe against panic following two new shootings they said could be the work of a gunman targeting people of immigrant origin.

Last Updated: Oct 23, 2010, 00:17 AM IST

Stockholm: Swedish police today warned
residents of the southern city of Malmoe against panic
following two new shootings they said could be the work of a
gunman targeting people of immigrant origin.

Police said two women, aged 26 and 34, were slightly
injured when someone shot them through a kitchen window late
yesterday. A teenager driving a moped was also shot at in
broad daylight earlier in the day, but was unhurt.

In both cases, the victims were of immigrant origin,
police said, adding that so far no suspects had been arrested.

Yesterday`s shootings came on the tail of at least 15
unsolved shootings in Malmoe over the past year that police
said could be the work of one or several gunmen with racist
motives.

Today, Boerje Sjoestroem of the Malmoe police told a
press conference, which was broadcast on Swedish public radio,
that there was a risk of more shootings in the city, but
warned against panic.

"For an individual person, the risk is extremely
small," he told a large crowd of reporters, some of them from
Denmark and Norway.

In many of the unsolved shootings, the victims had not
adopted risky behavior and were simply going about their daily
business, he said.

In virtually all the cases being probed, the victims
have been of immigrant origin, Sjoestroem said, but cautioned
against drawing conclusions.

"The most dangerous thing we can do now is to
speculate. What counts now is solid, traditional police work.
In theory there can be a large number of culprits," he said.

But the string of shootings in Malmoe brought back
painful memories in Sweden, where a lone gunman randomly shot
11 people, most of them immigrants, in and around Stockholm
from August 1991 to January 1992.

John Ausonius, nicknamed the "Laserman" since for many
of his crimes he used a rifle equipped with a laser sight, was
sentenced to life behind bars in 1994 and remains in prison.

Today, the headlines of Sweden`s two main tabloids
spoke of the Swedish police`s hunt for "the new laserman."

PTI