Police hunt for getaway bicycles after new Malmö shooting

2:30 min

One man has been killed and another injured in the latest in a succession of suspected gangland shootings sweeping Malmö, Sweden's third largest city.

Saturday's shooting marked the 15th fatal killing in the city since February last year. Last month, the violence prompted Sweden's interior minister Anders Ygerman to visit to the city, when he promised to to crack down on gang crime.

Police received reports of the shootings at Kronetorpsgatan shortly after 10pm on Saturday night. A witness reported seeing two men fleeing the scene on bicycles, minutes after shots tore into the car where the victims were sitting.

When they arrived, police found a 23-year-old man slumped injured in the car. He died later of his injuries. A 22-year-old man, who had taken refuge in a nearby apartment, is still being treated in hospital.

"It is noteworthy that the witness says two people escaped on bicycles. It's an unusual way to leave a murder scene," Ewa-Gun Westford, spokesperson for the police in southern Sweden, told the local Sydsvenskan newspaper.

"We're putting all our resources into seeing if we can find the bicycles, if they've been abandonded."

Joakim Palmkvist, crime reporter for the Sydsvenksan newspaper said that Malmö had never before seen so many shootings over such a short time. 

"Since February 29 last year, there have been 15 murders and well above 50 shootings. It's incomparable," he told Radio Sweden. "There has happened nothing of this kind before in Malmö."

Palmkvist said that evidence suggested that the shootings were not part of a vendetta or power struggle between gangs. 

"They are not connected case-by-case. but all, all but perhaps one, has to do with criminals shooting criminals," Palmkvist told Radio Sweden. "So interconnectivity there is, but they are not related in a domino sort of way, where one murder or one shooting leads to the other. I'm quite convinced that they're not."

Palmkvist said that the shooting on Kronetorpsgatan appeared to have broken out in the middle of a meeting between the four men at a carpark.

According to Sydsvenskan, the man killed had been involved in drug-dealing and was also connected to criminal groups in Rosengård and Seved, two districts classed by police as "vulnerable".

"It sounded almost like a string of firecrackers," a witness told the newspaper. "It's scarcely possible to fire off a pistol so fast, so there were probably several people firing simultanaeously."

Westford said that police were investigating connections between the murder and other recent shootings.

"We need to look into whether this is part of a larger pattern concerning the situation in Malmö," she said on Sunday.

Even taking into account the recent wave of shootings, the crime rate in Malmö, with 3.4 murders per 100,000 in 2016, falls below that of major US cities such as Chicago, which last year recorded a murder rate more than eight times as high.