Two dead, including bystander, in gang-related shooting in Sweden

<html xmlns=""><head><title>UPDATE 1-Two dead, including bystander, in gang-related shooting in Sweden</title></head><body>

Adds police and PM quotes, details, background

STOCKHOLM, Sept 22 (Reuters) -Two people were killed and two injured when a lone gunman opened fire at a restaurant in a small town in easternSweden late on Thursday, in what policesaid appeared to be part of an escalating spiral of violence among criminal gangs.

Sweden has been rocked by a wave of shootings and bombings in recent years that has intensified over the past fewmonths to become an almost daily occurrence.

Police said one of the dead men, a man in his 70s, and the two injured people were probably bystanders at the restaurant in the small town of Sandviken, 190 kilometres (118 miles) north of Stockholm.

"We believe that one of the deceased, a man in his 20s, was the intended target. We think the three others just happened to be there," a police spokesperson said on Friday.

The spokesperson said they were searching for a lone gunman but that no arrests had yet been made in connection with the shooting.

"It most likely has links to the criminal gang environment, but I can't say much more at this point," he said.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, whose centre-right minority government won last year's election in part on a promise to stem spiralling gang-related crime, condemned the latest incident.

"This underlines the extreme violence," Kristersson told TT news agency. "It's bad enough that the gangs fatally shoot one another, but when completely innocent people end up in the firing line, it's absolutely horrific," he said.

Police has said about 30,000 people in Sweden are directly involved with or have ties to gang crime. The violence has also spread from major urban areas to smaller towns where violent crime was previously a rare occurrence.

Reporting by Anna Ringstrom amd Johan Ahlander
Editing by Peter Graff and Gareth Jones


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