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Swedish police killed man with Down syndrome who carried a toy gun

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Eric Torell was shot dead by Swedish police.

Swedish police shot dead a 20-year-old man with Down syndrome in Stockholm early Thursday.

He had run away from home carrying a harmless toy gun.

The policemen say they opened fire because of a "threatening situation", according to media reports.

20-year-old Eric Torell from Stockholm was diagnosed with Down syndrom and autism. He was gravely handicapped and could not speak, according to his mother.

On Thursday he was killed by Swedish police who say he acted "threateningly".

Ran away from home

Eric Torell ran away from home early Thursday – as he had done several times in the past – and was reported missing, according to his family. This time he brought with him a plastic toy gun.

Foto: Peter Nilsson

"He got it as a gift. It looked a little like a submachine gun. Until now it was just thrown in a pile of toys," says his mother, Katarina Söderberg, to Expressen.

Her son was shot dead aroung 4 a.m. in the Vasastan district in Stockholm. 

Behaved "threateningly"

"I heard gun shots and woke up. When I looked out I saw policemen. They shouted that someone should lay down his weapon and lie on the ground. Then more police arrived and also an ambulance," an eye-witness says.

The police was called to the spot after getting reports that a person was showing a gun to people living there. At least three policemen shot at him because he behaved "threateningly" when being approached, according to media reports. Police confirms that multiple shots were fired. Seven bullet shells were obtained on the scene.

Eric Torell was pronounced dead from gunshots at 5.45 a.m Thursday. 

Investigation of misconduct

"We are furious because of their lying and making up things. 'A threatening man'? He's like a three-year-old," says Eric's mother, Katarina Söderberg.

Foto: Peter Nilsson

"It's impossible to understand. He wouldn't hurt a fly. He's the kindest person in the world," she says.

The prosecutor's office has opened an investigation of possible police misconduct, but is yet to give further comments on the case.

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