STOCKHOLM: Several people were killed and more wounded after at least one gunman armed with an automatic weapon opened fire in a pub in western Sweden late on Wednesday, police said, with the death toll expected to rise.
“There was a shooting in a pub. There have been several fatalities and a number of the injured have been brought to hospital,” police spokeswoman Ulla Brehm told Agence France-Presse.
“An automatic weapon was used. We can’t rule out that it’s gang-related. We’ve had problems for some time with gang crime in this area,” she added.
An eyewitness told tabloid Aftonbladet that two people entered the pub in the Gothenburg suburb of Biskopsgaarden with weapons that looked like Kalashnikovs and started shooting.
“We were sitting watching the football game when the shooters came in,” the witness said.
Another witness described how fast the shootings occurred.
“I didn’t have time to think what was happening. Then I saw that my friend was bleeding. I tried to stop the flow of blood as well as I could with my hands,” a man who gave his name as “Rocky” told public broadcaster SVT.
Police did not confirm the number of gunmen but said in a statement that the death toll was expected to rise.
Emergency services told newspaper GT that eight people were brought to hospital by ambulance and other Swedish media reported two dead.
Sweden and neighboring Denmark have a longstanding problem with criminal gangs, including Hells Angels, Bandidos and several immigrant groups which battle for control of the country’s drug trade.
There have been dozens of shootings involving criminal gangs in Gothenburg, many of them in the Biskopsgaarden area — a housing estate with a large immigrant population and high unemployment — in recent years, however fatalities are relatively rare.
A man was shot dead in an apartment in the area in May last year and two others died in suspected gang-related shootings in late 2013.
In January a man was shot in the leg close to the scene of Wednesday’s shooting.
“It’s frightening. Things happen nearly every day here but this looks like something extra,” one local resident who did not give her name told newspaper Aftonbladet.
However, another resident added that the area around the pub was usually quiet.
“This is actually a quiet area. There have been occasional shootings but never anything serious. It’s all between gangs,” she said.
Police have launched a murder investigation and are questioning several people. No arrests have been made.