STOCKHOLM: Two men were killed and more than a dozen wounded after several gunman armed with automatic weapons opened fire in a pub in the Swedish city of Gothenburg late on Wednesday, police said.
Customers inside the bar were watching football on television when the attack took place.
“Several attackers opened fire with automatic weapons,” police said in a statement.
“Two men aged 20 to 25 were killed. Ten to fifteen people were shot and wounded in varying degrees,” police said, adding that the death toll is expected to rise.
The gunmen fled the scene by car and police are still hunting for them.
The shootings are believed to be gang-related.
An eyewitness told tabloid Aftonbladet that two people entered the pub in the Gothenburg suburb of Biskopsgaarden in western Sweden armed with weapons that looked like Kalashnikovs and started shooting.
“We can’t rule out that it’s gang-related. We’ve had problems for some time with gang crime in this area,” police spokeswoman Ulla Brehm told AFP.
“We were sitting watching the football game when the shooters came in,” the witness said.
Another witness said the shootings were over quickly.
“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.
Longstanding Gang Problem
Sweden and neighbouring 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 gang-related shootings in Gothenburg in recent years, many of them in the Biskopsgaarden area, a housing estate with a large immigrant population and high unemployment, but 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 during an uptick in violence 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 said 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 “a large number of people”. No arrests have been made.