Stockholm – Swedish police are facing criticism and an investigation after officers fatally shot a 20-year-old man with Down’s syndrome in central Stockholm.
The man, who also suffered from a form of autism, had run away from his father’s flat, bringing along a toy gun.
Police have said the shooting took place in a “threatening situation,’’ and that the man had not obeyed an order to drop what they believed was a lethal weapon.
Chief Prosecutor Martin Tiden said that a probe over possible misconduct is ongoing over the shooting.
At least two officers opened fire.
The man’s mother told Swedish Radio that the family was in shock and that her son, who had severe speech difficulties, was “the nicest ever.’’
“He joked with people and was incredibly social,’’ she added.
Elisabeth Sandlund, board member of the Swedish National Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability and the mother of a girl with such a disability, was “dismayed and aghast’’ over the incident.
“I know how spontaneous this group of youth can be. It’s not strange that you decide to run off in the middle of the night with a toy, even if you are a child in an adult body,’’ she said.
Stockholm regional police chief Ulf Johansson said the incident was “deeply tragic’’ but could not comment on the probe.
However, he added that “from experience, very difficult decisions must sometimes be made in unclear and hard-pressed situations,’’ within seconds.
There have been six fatal shootings by police in Sweden this year.