The death of an 18-year-old Swedish rapper known as Einar has sparked outrage over crime in a country still recovering from a record homicide count in 2017.
Police initially said they were looking for three men in connection with Einar’s slaying, but later said they were not sure if he had been killed by a gang. Still, there was growing discussion on social media of how a relatively inexperienced young man with no gang ties could have been gunned down so suddenly.
“A brain’s not nothing,” said one user on social media.
Police say Einar was not a gang member and was just active in the hip-hop world. He was shot dead during a party outside his parents’ home in the Stockholm suburb of Isabella at 1:40 a.m. on Sunday.
Public prosecutor Jessica Westlund told Reuters that four male suspects had been detained after police found out about the party and confiscated several weapons and took them for forensic tests.
“We have not yet determined if the victim was killed by a gang,” she said.
Spokeswoman Anna Ammorsdottir told the Sveriges Radio station that the victim had not been a member of a gang and had only had minor disciplinary problems while living with his parents.
Police have also said they were not sure if he was killed by a gang.
“This has been a particularly cruel killing,” Antons Wilk, a police officer for nine years and now a police commissioner, told the Times of London.
Hearings are expected to take place on Wednesday.
Einar had a large YouTube following and was a regular on various Stockholm radio stations.
Sweden recorded a record number of murders in 2017 with 62. That was a huge increase from the 24 homicides in the previous year, prompting a large-scale crackdown on gang members.
Now that the death of Einar is under investigation, some believe there is little hope of the situation improving soon.
“This is a key turning point: the sky hasn’t fallen, but the sky is open,” crime expert Gustav Horn, of Stockholm University, told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
The Local, an English-language Swedish daily, said the number of killings is starting to pick up again this year. There have been nearly 80 murders by the end of September, compared with nearly 40 in all of last year.
“It seems that more people are becoming aware of this problem and want to do something about it,” police spokeswoman Marianne Kitto said.
Horn said there had been a spike in gang members in Sweden in recent years, sparking a rise in robberies, drug deals and home invasions.
“I think it is due to the changes in social life and values,” Horn said. “Youngsters feel more independent, they have less bonds to the things that used to be important to them like family and friends. It has become all about the internet.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.