Racial shootings in Malmö continue, putting residents on edge

October 29th, 2010

This article is more than 13 years old.

Upwards of 18 shootings have occurred over the past year

On the other side of the Øresund strait, a series of shootings in Malmö has put residents on edge. Swedish police are investigating up to 18 apparently racially-motivated shootings that have occurred in Malmö over the past year. There have been seven shooting incidents in October alone, with reports of shootings as recently as last weekend.

Last week on Friday, a man riding his bicycle was shot at but not hit. The day prior, two women were slightly injured when they were shot through their kitchen window. And then early on Sunday morning, a family awoke to a bullet hole in their apartment window. In all of the cases, the alleged victims were of immigrant descent.

The previous shooting incidents have occurred at various locations throughout Malmö, with one resulting in the death of a 20-year-old woman in October of last year. None of the victims reported receiving any threats or have been able to explain why they were targeted. The one common thread is that all of the shooting victims have immigrant backgrounds.

Swedish police suspect the shootings are the work of a single gunman, but according to newspaper MetroXpress are now investigating several theories surrounding the case including the possibility of multiple gunmen. Police have received upwards of 200 tip-offs related to the case and have reason to believe they may have obtained a DNA sample stemming from a scuffle over the past weekend, in which an Iraqi tailor was headbutted and fired at by a man believed to be the gunman.

An end to the saga would be good news to the many Danes who spend time in Malmö, the third-largest city in Sweden. According to the Øresund Bridge Consortium, 25,000 Danes currently live in the Malmö area and over 20,000 commuters cross the bridge every day. Copenhagen Police have not issued any travel restrictions or warnings to residents travelling to Malmö.

According to a series of interviews conducted by the Ritzau news bureau, many of the Danes living in Malmö no longer dare to go out after dark. But not everyone in Malmö is frightened by the shootings. Nihat Ulusoy, a Swedish resident of Turkish descent who commutes between Malmö and Copenhagen, says the shootings have not been a cause of great concern among his family and friends in the immigrant community.

"Many of the immigrants are from countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, so they come from a very violent atmosphere," said Ulusoy. "For them to see a couple of guys getting shot at a bus stop, it’s not a big story. I think the shootings have scared the Swedish population more than the immigrants."

Despite the shooting incidents, Ulusoy views Malmö as more welcoming to ethnic immigrants than Copenhagen.

The case has generated international attention, with media outlets in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the Middle East covering the story. The Swedish press has drawn parallels to a similar case in the 1990s in which 11 immigrants were shot in and around Stockholm.


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