One of Sweden’s most popular rappers has been shot and killed in Stockholm, which further fuels the public’s anger over a deadly wave of gang-related violence which has affected the country in recent years.
Einar, 19, whose full name was Nils Kurt Erik Einar Gronberg, was Sweden’s most streamed artist on Spotify 2019 and released three top lists and won several Swedish Grammys and other music awards.
He was shot several times outside an apartment building in the southern Stockholm suburb of Hammarby Sjöstad just before 11 pm on Thursday. Police have launched a murder investigation and are looking for at least two suspects.
– We are actively working to find out why it happened and who may be behind it, says Ola Österling, spokesperson for the Stockholm Police, to the national news agency TT.
the Swedish public radio and television company quoted SVT unnamed sources say that the murder was gang-related and that Einar would have testified in a case against the so-called Vårby gang next week. He is said to have received death threats in recent months.
Police said CCTV images from two surveillance cameras were being analyzed, but declined to comment on possible motives. The Aftonbladet said the rapper was shot several times from a distance of about 1.5 meters and hit in the chest.
Einar, whose breakthrough single The Cat in the Area (The Cat in the Area) reached number one on the Swedish singles chart when he was 16, often referred to a life of crime, including drugs and weapons, in his songs. He was convicted several times of assault, drug offenses and drunk driving.
In April last year, he was kidnapped, beaten and extorted for 3 million Swedish kronor (approximately 250,000 pounds) by members of the Vårby gang, who had recruited a rival rapper, Haval Khalil, to help lure him to an apartment in the the Swedish capital.
Weeks earlier, the same gang had tried and failed to abduct Einar in a music studio in Stockholm with another rapper, Yasin, Sweden’s artist and this year’s hip hop artist 2020, as bait.
In July this year one court convicted Khalil to two and a half years in prison for aiding and abetting a kidnapping. Yasin, 23, whose full name is Yasin Mahamoud, was given a 10-month prison term for conspiracy to kidnap. Both deny the allegations and appeal.
The verdicts came as part of a broader case involving the Vårby gang, whose 27 members were convicted of serious crimes including murder, attempted murder, robbery, extortion, abduction and drug and firearms crimes.
Sweden has seen one wave of gang violence for several years. A report this year said it was the only European country where fatal shootings had increased significantly since 2000, from one of the lowest numbers of gun violence on the continent to one of the highest in less than a decade.
The Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who spoke in Brussels where he attended an EU summit, said he understood that Einar “meant a lot to many young people. It is tragic that another young life has been extinguished.”
Johan Forsell, spokesman for law and order for the largest opposition party, the Moderates, said that “the limits of what can be accepted in a civilized country” had been exceeded “a very long time ago. We need action, not words, to turn the tide and get order. in Sweden. ”
Center Party leader Annie Lööf tweeted: “Once again, a young person’s life is being extinguished due to gang violence. Once again, parents must bury their own child. We are many who mourn, who have had enough of the senseless violence and want to see gang crime fought. “