Early Thursday, Swedish police received an urgent call: A man was walking around the Vasastan district in central Stockholm with what appeared to be a gun.
When officers arrived, they found 20-year-old Eric Torrell. They reportedly called out to him to put down what appeared to be a weapon in his hand. According to the Swedish Police Authority, officers decided that the scene was “threatening.”
They ended up shooting Torrell, who died.
In an interview with Swedish newspaper Expressen, Torrell’s family said that he had Down syndrome and autism, and was essentially nonverbal. His vocabulary consisted mainly of “Mum,” his mother, Katarina Soderberg, told the newspaper. And the weapon in his hand? It was a toy gun.
“We are furious because of their lying and making up things,” she said. ” ‘A threatening man’? He’s like a 3-year-old.”
Torrell’s father told Expressen that “three police officers shot him in his stomach.”
In a statement, the Stockholm police said that their officers wound up in a “threatening situation” while approaching someone and then opened fire on him. On Friday, Martin Tiden, the Swedish prosecutor investigating the case, said multiple officers fired their weapons at Torrell but that none of them are suspected of foul play.
“The man held a weapon-like object, and officers opened fire after judging the situation as threatening,” Tiden said.
A spokesperson for the police declined to comment to The Washington Post, citing an ongoing investigation.
The Expressen said the public prosecutor’s office is probing whether there was officer misconduct, and the police spokesperson told The Post that such probes are standard in any incident in which an officer discharges a firearm.