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Gunman spreads panic in Swedish city

Swedish police warn against panic as shooter targets Malmö.

Swedish police probe 15 'immigrant' shootings

Swedish police on Friday warned residents of the southern city of Malmö 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 Thursday. 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.

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

On Friday, Börje Sjöström of the Malmö 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.

"Many of those who were affected were in completely normal situations. It is not risky behavior to work out at the gym or to wait for the bus," Sjoestroem said, insisting that "the worst thing people can do is to lock themselves in and capitulate."

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.

On Friday, the headlines of Sweden's two main tabloids spoke of the Swedish police's hunt for "the new laserman."

Last Updated (Friday, 22 October 2010 15:12)


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