STOCKHOLM -- Prosecutors on Monday charged a 40-year-old Swede with three counts of murder and 12 counts of attempted murder in a string of shootings that spread fear among immigrants in the southern city of Malmo.
The suspect, Peter Mangs, has been jailed since his arrest in November 2010, following a manhunt for a serial gunman police had linked to more than a dozen shootings in 2009 and 2010. After the arrest, investigators also linked Mangs to two murders in 2003.
Mangs denies the charges.
Most of the victims had immigrant backgrounds, but chief prosecutor Solveig Wollstad said the motive wasn't clear-cut.
In material seized on Mangs' computer and smartphone, "there was a certain measure of xenophobia," Wollstad told reporters in Malmo. "But there were also other things, for example an aggressiveness against people who had earlier been involved in crimes."
The shootings spread jitters in Malmo, Sweden's third largest city and one of its most diverse. Forty percent of the city's 300,000 residents are first- or second-generation immigrants.
Swedish media drew parallels to a racist gunman who hunted down immigrants in Stockholm in the 1990s. After evading capture for nearly a year, John Ausonius was convicted of one murder and nine attempted murders and is now serving a life sentence.
Comparisons have also been made between the Malmo shootings and the bomb-and-shooting massacre that killed 77 people in Norway last July, including by the right-wing extremist who admitted those attacks, Anders Behring Breivik.
As his terror trial began in Norway three weeks ago, Breivik mentioned Mangs and a group of German neo-Nazis as examples of "patriots" taking up arms to fight multiculturalism in Europe.
Investigators say the cases are not linked.
Police said Mangs used a Glock pistol in the shootings, but with different barrels in an apparent attempt to make it harder for police to trace the bullets to the same gun. The victims were shot through widows of apartments and businesses, in parked cars or as they were walking on the street.
Police inspector Borje Sjoholm said the gunman was initially difficult to track down because the victims were not connected to each other or the suspect. Many were shot at a distance, often at night, and there were only vague descriptions of the gunman.
Mangs was arrested following a tip-off from the public. Prosecutors said their proof includes forensic evidence, witness accounts and material seized from Mangs' home.
On Oct. 10 last year, a 21-year-old convicted drug smuggler on furlough from prison was shot in the head in a parked car. He was shot in the head but survived. A 20-year-old woman sitting next him was hit in the head and died.
The trial is set to start next week.
Peter Mangs, 40, entered the plea at the start of his trial in Malmo. He is accused of carrying out more than a dozen attacks in the city in 2009 and 2010, and two murders in 2003.
Most of his victims had foreign backgrounds.
They were shot through the windows of their homes or workplaces, in parked cars, or on the street.
Malmo is Sweden's third-largest city, and one of the country's most ethnically diverse, with 40% of its population first or second generation immigrants.
Mr Mangs denied three counts of murder and 12 counts of attempted murder.
There was tight security in the courtroom as his trial began on Monday. The defendant was seated behind a screen of bullet-proof glass.
Chief prosecutor Solveig Wollstad told the court detectives had found a gun equipped with a silencer hidden under pillows in Mr Mangs' flat.
Mr Wollstad said Mr Mangs changed the barrel of his weapon between shootings to confuse investigators.
May 15, 2012
http://http://www.nytimes.com/2012/0...ivik-case.htmlMALMO, Sweden — With echoes of the massacre reverberating from neighboring Norway, a trial has started here of a man charged with killing three people and the attempted murder of 12 others in a string of shootings that mostly targeted people with immigrant backgrounds.
Prosecutors say the defendant, Peter Mangs, 40, appears to have been motivated in part by a dislike of immigrants. Mr. Mangs pleaded not guilty at the start of the trial on Monday.
And although the scale of the accusations are nothing like the charges against Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian on trial in Oslo for the systematic killings of 77 people last year in a crusade against multiculturalism, the parallels have not been lost on residents here in Malmo, Sweden’s third-largest city and one of its most diverse.
The first two killings in the Mangs case occurred in the summer of 2003, when two men were shot on the same street — one in his apartment, the other as he was leaving for work — within seven weeks.
Six years passed before the next killing in October 2009. The victim in that case, Trez West Persson, 20, was sitting in the front of a parked car with a young man, Xhafer Dani, when prosecutors say Mr. Mangs fired several shots at them, killing Ms. West Persson and seriously wounding Mr. Dani, who took the stand on Tuesday.
There were seven more shootings between New Year’s Eve 2009, when an Islamic center was fired on, and August 2010, when Younes Cheikhi, the owner of a fast-food kiosk, was shot at.
Mr. Cheikhi, an immigrant from Syria, was preparing to close for the night when a bullet entered through the back of the kiosk and broke the window next to where orders were placed before hitting a car on the opposite side of the street. “I thought it was a rock or an air gun at first,” Mr. Cheikhi said the day before the trial, sitting at a restaurant across from the kiosk, which he has since sold. “I lost customers immediately. The shootings got worse and everyone was afraid.”
Three more shootings were reported in October 2010. All together, there were four shootings in 2009 and eight in 2010.
In October of that year, the police asked the public for tips that would help them find a gunman who was attacking immigrants. The announcement sent a shiver of fear through residents of Malmo, where 40 percent of the residents were either born outside of Sweden or have parents who were born elsewhere.
“People didn’t want to be out at night,” said Amir Burhani, a cabdriver who noticed an increase in business.
One tip led the police to Mr. Mangs. After following him for weeks and eavesdropping on his telephone conversations, officers stormed Mr. Mangs’s apartment on Nov. 6, 2010, and arrested him.
The police found evidence tying Mr. Mangs to the crimes inside what was otherwise an “orderly” home, prosecutors said, including ammunition, a Glock pistol and silencer, and a combat vest that carried a gun barrel, a homemade mask, bullets and a large knife.
The police also found a book about John Ausonius, a gunman who is widely known in Sweden as “the laser man” because he used a laser-equipped sight in his crimes. He is serving a life sentence for killing one person and wounding many others in Stockholm and Uppsala, Sweden, in 1991 and 1992. Most of Mr. Ausonius’s victims were immigrants, and Mr. Mangs spoke admiringly of him to at least one person, prosecutors say.
Solveig Wollstad, the lead prosecutor in Mr. Mangs’s case, has presented a picture of him as a troubled and lonely man who fancied himself as somehow superior to others but who had trouble coping in social settings. She said he sought psychiatric help at least twice before the shootings in 2003 and expressed an “interest in death” and a fear that he was going to hurt someone.
In court, dressed in a white shirt and gray pants, Mr. Mangs was sometimes impassive but at times seemed bemused or surprised. Sometimes he simply gazed into space. As Ms. Wollstad listed the crimes he is accused of committing, he polished his glasses.
Prosecutors said Mr. Mangs had posted comments on anti-immigrant Web sites and had expressed racist views to co-workers. But he also showed a strong dislike of people convicted of crimes.
“It’s a bit different for each crime. Sometimes it’s to silent a witness,” Ms. Wollstad said in an interview on Sunday. “He doesn’t like people from different countries, but you can’t say he’s a classic racist. He calls himself ‘a chameleon,’ ”
She said that he had a conspiratorial worldview and subscribed to the notion that Jews were responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
The trial is expected to continue through mid-July. If he is found guilty, and is not found to be suffering from a mental illness, Mr. Mangs could be sentenced to up to life in prison.
http://http://news.yahoo.com/swedens...133545733.htmlA Swedish court on Tuesday found a man guilty of two murders and four attempted murders after he terrorised the southern city of Malmoe with a shooting spree targeting immigrants.
Malmoe district court said in a statement it had found there was "convincing evidence that Peter Mangs has committed 13 (of the 20) crimes he was charged with, including two murders, four attempted murders."
Mangs was found guilty of killing Kooros Effatian, a 66-year-old Iranian immigrant, in the victim's apartment in June 2003, and Trez West Persson, a 20-year-old Swedish woman who was shot while sitting in a parked car next to a friend of immigrant origin.
The 40-year-old Swede was however acquitted of the murder of Firas al-Shariah, a 23-year-old man reportedly of Iraqi origin who was shot outside his front door in July 2003.
Mangs was arrested in November 2010 after a massive manhunt following a string of shootings against people of immigrant origin that gripped Sweden's third largest city with fear.
On Tuesday, he was also found guilty of four of the 12 counts of attempted murder he had been charged with, after having fired numerous shots with his Glock 19 pistol at homes, businesses and cars as well as out in the open, seriously injuring a number of people and coming close to killing many others.
And he was found guilty of three counts of aggravated threats.
The court said Mangs would now undergo a psychiatric exam to determine whether he should be sent to prison or a closed psychiatric ward, and that his sentence would likely be announced during the first half of September.