Murder probe explores World of Warcraft ties

Prosecutors are looking into what role the popular online adventure game World of Warcraft may have played in the weekend death of a woman in a Stockholm suburb.

Murder probe explores World of Warcraft ties

Police discovered the body of Erika Eriksson on Sunday morning in an apartment located in Spånga west of Stockholm.

A 33-year-old man from Sandviken in eastern Sweden who was in the apartment when police arrived has been detained on suspicions of murder.

The night before, Eriksson, a native of Arvika in central Sweden, had been celebrating her 28th birthday with friends.

She had moved into the sublet apartment a week earlier in order to look for work in the Stockholm area.

Most of the friends celebrating with Eriksson last Saturday night knew each other through their common interest in World of Warcraft.

“We understand that several of those who were there had the World of Warcraft computer game as a common interest,” prosecutor Christina Voigt told the Nya Wermlands-Tidningen (NWT) newspaper.

Speaking with the Metro newspaper, Voigt added that the game and how it may have figured in the killing is now an important part of the investigation.

“We know there are connections and it’s something we’re looking into,” she told Metro.

Police confirm that the suspect and the victim were acquainted, but refuse to elaborate on the duration or nature of the relationship or on the cause of death.

“They knew each other, but we’re not going to get into how or why she was killed,” said police spokesperson Mats Eriksson to Metro.

But an acquaintance of Eriksson confirmed for NWT that she and the 33-year-old knew one another and that they met recently as a result of playing World of Warcraft.

Initial reports indicated Eriksson had been strangled, but police refuse to confirm the exact cause of death, the Arbetarbladet newspaper reports.

The suspect is set to be interrogated further on Tuesday, at which time prosecutors will decide whether to seek a remand order against him.


Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.