Sweden 'race gunman' faces court in Malmo

Image caption,
The suspect is believed to have acted alone

A man accused of a series of race-related shootings which terrified the Swedish city of Malmo has appeared in court in the city.

A man identified by court documents as Peter Mangs, 38, was remanded in custody at the request of prosecutors.

Prosecutors told a hearing there was a risk that, if released, he would continue his alleged criminal behaviour or try to destroy evidence.

The suspect denies charges of one murder and five attempted murders.

The charges are preliminary and formal charges are due to be brought against him within two weeks, a court clerk told AFP news agency in Malmo.

Five minutes into the court hearing on Tuesday, the judge ordered the courtroom to be cleared and the remainder of the proceedings was held behind closed doors.

Defence lawyer Christina Brink said her client denied any wrongdoing and objected to being held in custody, the Swedish daily Expressen reports.

Shot near mosque

Over the past year, at least 19 shooting attacks were registered in Malmo in what were thought to be the work of a lone gunman.

  • On 10 October 2009, Trez West Persson, a 20-year-old woman, was shot and killed while sitting in a car near a mosque; a dark-skinned friend sitting beside her was seriously injured.
  • On New Year's Eve 2009, an imam was injured by broken glass after shots were fired at a mosque.
  • On 25 January 2010, a 17-year-old boy was shot in the chest and a 36-year-old man in the leg outside a store.
  • On 16 March 2010, a 21-year-old was hit several times at close range by shots while sitting in a car.
  • Over the night of 26-27 June 2010, a 30-year-old man was hit twice in the back by shots fired through the window of a gym and, 40 minutes later, a 29-year-old was shot in the shoulder while sitting in a car.
  • On 21 October 2010, two women were injured when shots were fired through a window.

The shootings made headlines in Sweden, spreading fear among immigrants about going out at night and sparking sharp criticism of the police.

The suspect was arrested in his flat on Saturday. He has a gun licence and two weapons were found.

A tip-off from a member of the public led to the arrest, police told reporters.

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