GUNMEN with automatic weapons stormed into a restaurant in Sweden’s second largest city, killing two people and wounding about a dozen in a shooting that police said was likely to be gang-related.
Police said the restaurant in suburban Gothenburg was full when the gunmen opened fire in one of Sweden’s most serious shooting incidents in recent years.
It was not clear who the attackers were targeting or why, but police said there were known gang members inside the restaurant.
The attack happened as customers were watching a televised football game.
One witness told Sweden’s SVT broadcaster that two men entered the restaurant and opened fire.
“I didn’t have a chance to think about what happened. Then I saw that my friend was bleeding. I tried to stop the bleeding as well as I could with my hand,’’ said the witness, who did not give his name.
Regional police chief Klas Friberg said: “Our assessment is that this incident has to do with ongoing gang conflicts in Gothenburg.”
Police had earlier estimated the total number of injured as ten to 15, but Mr Friberg said the estimates were uncertain.
Police said the victims were two men in their 20s, but did not identify them. Eight wounded people were taken to the hospital, one of them with life-threatening injuries, Mr Friberg said, adding that other people had sought hospital treatment on their own for cuts and other injuries.
No arrests have been made but several people have been brought in for questioning, he said.
Witnesses told Swedish media that the gunmen were wearing masks when they entered the restaurant in the Biskopsgarden suburb late on Wednesday.
One unidentified restaurant worker told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that they shot people in the head.
Sweden’s homicide rate has been steady in the past decade but police say they have seen an increase in shooting incidents in the major cities as part of turf wars between rival gangs.
In 2013, there were 87 homicides reported in Sweden, about one-quarter of them in the greater Gothenburg area, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention.
“We have a serious situation in Gothenburg where many people have been murdered,” Mr Friberg said.
“We have different types of criminal gangs who … are ready to use aggravated violence in retribution attacks or to win market share.”
The shooting happened inside a restaurant called Var Krogoch Bar, which means “our tavern and bar” in Swedish.
According to its website, the restaurant opened in 1995 and also has a sports bar and a nightclub that is open on Fridays and Saturdays.
On 30 January a man was wounded in a shooting on the square outside the restaurant. It was not immediately clear whether the shootings were linked.
Despite the gang violence, mass shootings in public places are rare in Sweden, although there were two serious incidents in 1994.
In June that year, a 24-year-old army officer killed seven people in a drunken shooting spree in the city of Falun.
In December, a gunman sprayed the entrance of a night club in Stockholm with automatic weapon-fire, killing four people.
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