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Violent Mass Shootings in Sweden From 1960 to 1995: Profiles, Patterns, and Motives

Lindquist, Olle M.D., Ph.D.; Lidberg, Lars M.D., Ph.D.

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: March 1998 - Volume 19 - Issue 1 - p 34-45

During the past few decades, violent mass shooting in Sweden has increased rapidly. In the 36 years between 1960 and 1995, fourteen such occasions were recorded, during which 32 people were killed and 57 were wounded. The 14 offenders were men between the ages of 17 and 61 years. In the 20 years from 1960 to 1979, five shootings were committed by five offenders, leaving 10 dead and 13 wounded; in the 16 years between 1980 and 1995, there were nine different shootings committed by nine offenders, with 22 dead and 44 wounded. Seven of the shootings were classified as mass shootings, six as spree shootings, and one as a serial shooting. In all but four of these cases, the firearms used were illegal weapons. The four legal firearms belonged to an unemployed young laborer, an officer, a former United Nations (U.N.) soldier, and a member of the Swedish military volunteer corps. Of those killed, 68.8% were strangers to the offender; among the wounded, the corresponding figure was 89.5%. Profiles of the offenders and of the victims were studied. The psychiatric diagnoses among the offenders and the measures taken to prevent the increase in mass shooting in Sweden are presented.

From the Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Uppsala, Uppsala (O.L.), and the Department of Social and Forensic Psychiatry, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden (L.L.).

Accepted November 10, 1996.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Olle Lindquist, Department of Forensic Medicine, Dag Hammarskjölds väg 17, S-752 37 Uppsala, Sweden.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.