NEWS
03/08/2018 10:24 BST

Young Man With Down's Syndrome Carrying Toy Gun Shot Dead By Swedish Police

Police opened fire after he failed to drop what they thought was a weapon.

PONTUS STENBERG via Getty Images

A 20-year-old man with severe disabilities has been shot dead by police in Stockholm while carrying a toy gun, local media have reported. 

Eric Torell, described as the “kindest person in the world”, was was fatally shot by officers in the Swedish capital in the early hours of Thursday morning in response to what they described as a “threatening situation”.

The young man, who was diagnosed with both Down’s syndrome and autism, had been reported as missing earlier in the day, his family said.

The incident occurred at about 04:00 local time. Police were called following reports that someone was showing a gun to people in the Vasastan district of Stockholm.

At least three policemen shot at him after he failed to drop what they believed was a weapon, and behaved “threateningly” when they approached him, according to media reports. He was taken to hospital but later confirmed dead.

It was not the first time that Torell, who struggled with verbal communication, had run away from home – but this time he took his toy gun with him.

“He got it as a gift. It looked a little like a submachine gun. Until now it was just thrown in a pile of toys,” his mother, Katarina Söderberg, told Swedish news outlet Expressen.

“We are furious because of their lying and making up things. ‘A threatening man’? He’s like a three-year-old,” she said. 

“It’s impossible to understand. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’s the kindest person in the world,” she said.

An investigation into possible police misconduct is now under way, according to reports.