Peter Mangs, the suspected serial shooter. Photo: Polisen

Trial of Malmö serial shooter initiated

Sweden | 2012-05-09
Last Monday, the prosecutor initiated charges against 40-year-old Peter Mangs from Malmö, southern Sweden, for three murders and twelve attempted murders. Mangs is also prosecuted for two counts of aggravated assault, one case of obstructing the course of justice, and two counts of criminal damage. In total 21 charges.

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Tags: Crime

Peter Mangs has been detained for one and a half years while the Malmö police have carried out one of the biggest murder investigations ever.

“The police investigation is the largest since the Palme murder,” told Börje Sjöholm, chief operating officer for the county police, to public broadcaster SVT.

Peter Mangs has for the whole time denied all the crimes, except the two counts of criminal damage.

Arrested after tip to the police

On October 10 2009, someone shoots through the windshield of a parked car in eastern Malmö, Sweden's third largest city. 20-year-old Trez Persson West dies and her male acquaintance is seriously injured.

Initially, the police believed that it was about a dispute between criminals. There was a gang war going on in Malmö, and the injured man was on leave from prison. Maybe the shot that killed Trez was meant for him.

But over the next few months there were more unexplained shootings. All of the victims were not criminals, but almost all were of foreign origin. The police tried to find a pattern and decided to review about 150 shootings that had taken place in Malmö in recent years. Then the weapons used in around 50 of these shootings were analyzed. It turned out that in three murders the same weapon had been used, including the one of Trez Persson.

A perpetrator profile was developed which showed that the offender probably was a lone person who lived near the crime scenes and had access to weapons and a car.

The police did not want to go into more detail on the motif, but could not rule out that this serial shooter in the first instance directed his arms against people of immigrant origin.

This information from the police brought an enormous amount of attention. Many remember Lasermannen ("the Laser Man") John Asonius who shot at people with an immigrant background in Stockholm twenty years ago. Malmö residents of foreign origin felt afraid.

The tips were now pouring in to the police. After a call from a private individual with very specific information, the then 38-year-old Peter Mangs could be arrested suspected for three murders and 13 attempted murders.

When searching the home of the accused the police found several pistols, lots of ammunition, face masks, a whig, and a combat jacket with an extra pistol barrel, a silencer, and a dagger.

Nearly 30 witnesses will be heard only by the prosecution side, relating to the murders. But there is also a large collection of documentary evidence, including the playback of a phone call stating that the suspected serial shooter tried to mislead the police by giving a tip about another person.

Mixed motifs

Prosecutor Solveig Wollstad at Malmö distric court believe that there is no single clear motif to the crimes.

“There is in the material a degree of xenophobia. But there are also other things such as aggressiveness against persons previously convicted of crimes,” she told SVT.

The motif "may have been different for different crimes."

There has been speculation that Mangs harbored a grudge against people involved in drug sales, because his sister died of a drug overdose 22 years ago. In the police interrogations, he returns repeatedly to the view that his tax money finances criminals.

He bears no hatred toward immigrants, he says in the interrogations.

"I do not think I'm a racist. Immigrants is a broad term ... the term I use is people who can not build and maintain a functioning society."

Mangs does not want tax money to be used in taking in "the worst of society builders."

“And who are the worst of society builders?” the police officer asks.

“Well, it is those who have reasons to flee from their communities,” Mangs answers.

“Thus immigrants?”

“There can yes, yes, at the same time it is a broad term since you can immigrate from Germany for various reasons. You can be immigrants for various reasons, is not so? So for example ... so dope killed my sister, I pay taxes because I want the police to fight drugs ... and I do not think I'm satisfied with the effectiveness that you have shown.”

He admits that he has subscribed to a neo-Nazi newspaper, but also that he had previously been a member of the Left Party (socialist). But this only to "get contrasting information." He says he is not ultra-right or a member of any such organization.

The longer the interrogation is in progress, the quieter Mangs becomes. Last October, he stops cooperating with the interrogator and sometimes go so far as to close his eyes, hold his ears, and starts to sing.

However, during his time in custody, he authored a nearly hundred pages long document about himself. Here he writes, among other things, that he feels he does not need to follow the written laws and believe that he would have been better off in a society ruled by Adolf Hitler.

"I think I personally would have been better of in his society, it probably would have been much more order there," writes Mangs, but adds that he has tried to read Mein Kampf, but only coped with Hitler's "grinding" for one chapter.

Mangs describes himself as "a man who will not submit." He claims to have a superior intellect and gives expression to conspiracy theories about how the media together with the political and economic powers consciously misleads people. Multi-culture represents, he writes, "globalized tyranny."
The police have also investigated Mangs activities on the Internet, among other things, they found web comments with clearly anti-Semitic content.

The final section of his self-authored document is entitled "Leaving society." Mangs writes that he do not want to tolerate insults and do not accept any "slave morality." He concludes:"I think it will be better for me outside of society. I did not like it, I never fitted."

During the interrogation, Mangs told the police that he has Asperger's syndrome and that means that he thinks so differently that the investigators can not understand.

Some forensic psychiatric examination has not yet been made, although a small study suggested that Peter Mangs may be mentally ill. It may possibly be appropriate only after the court is satisfied of the guilt. In addition, it is not considered likely that Mangs eventual illness would affect the penalty.


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