Several people shot inside restaurant in Sweden, two dead: Police, witnesses

STOCKHOLM (AFP/REUTERS) - A pub shooting left two dead and several wounded in the city of Gothenburg in western Sweden late on Wednesday, according to the police.

The incident took place at the Var Krog Och Bar pub during the screening of a football match, according to The Daily Express, quoting eyewitnesses.

"Two men aged 20 to 25 were killed. Ten to fifteen people were shot and wounded in varying degrees,” the police said, adding that the death toll is expected to rise.The gunmen fled the scene by car and police are still hunting for them.

“A number of the injured have been brought to hospital,” police spokesman Ulla Brehm told AFP.“An automatic weapon was used... we can’t rule out that it’s gang-related. We’ve had problems for some time with gang crime in this area,” she added.An eyewitness told tabloid Aftonbladet that two people entered the pub in the Gothenburg suburb of Biskopsgaarden with weapons that looked like Kalashnikovs and started shooting.“We were sitting watching the football game when the shooters came in,” the witness said.

Another witness described how fast the shootings occurred.“I didn’t have time to think what was happening. Then I saw that my friend was bleeding. I tried to stop the flow of blood as well as I could with my hands,” a man who gave his name as “Rocky” told public broadcaster SVT.Emergency services told newspaper GT that eight people were brought to hospital by ambulance.

Police have sealed off the area and have launched a murder investigation.

Police said there were multiple deaths in the shooting in which automatic weapons were used, but would not say how many, adding the death toll was likely to rise.

The Daily Express reported that at least one person had been killed, and the death toll was expected to rise, it quoted the police as saying.

“Some died on the spot from gunshot wounds, “ the police said in a statement, quoted by Xinhua.

The Daily Express also said that eight people were injured, and quoted a reporter at the pub as saying that one dead body was seen lying outside the door, covered with a blanket.

Other media reports said two people were killed in the attack.

Police said there was no indication that the shooting in Sweden’s second biggest city was terror-related. “There’s absolutely nothing suggesting this would have anything to do with terrorism,” Ms Brehm said.Ms Brehm said the area on Hisingen, an island off Gothenburg, had seen a lot of gang violence and that was a likely explanation for the shooting. “We have had a targeted police operation in this area because we have gang crime here. There has been shootings in the past,” she said.

SVT also reported that the police were alerted at 10.23pm local time, and ten ambulances and were sent to the scene with police officers.

According to a police website, two people died on the spot.

Nobody has been arrested yet, said Swedish news portal SVT, and there has not been a call for the public to stay indoors, SVT quoted Ms Brehm as saying.

A nearby resident told Aftonbladet: "I just came down to see that they have locked down the entire square.

"It is the gangs that are doing these sort of things around here.

"I'm not worried for my safety.

"However, if they keep this up it bound to hurt someone innocent one day."

Var Krog och Bar translates to "our tavern and bar" in Swedish. The restaurant opened in 1995, according to its website.

Sweden and neighbouring Denmark have a longstanding problem with criminal gangs, including Hells Angels, Bandidos and several immigrant groups which battle for control of the country’s drug trade.There have been dozens of gang-related shootings in Gothenburg in recent years, many of them in the Biskopsgaarden area, a housing estate with a large immigrant population and high unemployment, but fatalities are relatively rare.A man was shot dead in an apartment in the area in May last year and two others died in suspected gang-related shootings during an uptick in violence in late 2013.In January a man was shot in the leg close to the scene of Wednesday’s shooting.“It’s frightening. Things happen nearly every day here but this looks like something extra,” one local resident who did not give her name told newspaper Aftonbladet.However another resident said the area around the pub was usually quiet.“This is actually a quiet area... there have been occasional shootings but never anything serious. It’s all between gangs,” she said.Police have launched a murder investigation and are questioning “a large number of people”. No arrests have been made.