Award-winning Swedish rapper Einar, 19, was gunned down in southern Stockholm in an incident which media reported on Friday (October 22) was likely linked to a gang.
The case shocked the Swedish entertainment world and highlighted what officials said was the urgent need to deal with the growing criminal gang activity in the Nordic country.
Einar was hit by multiple bullets in the suburb of Hammarby Sjostad south of central Stockholm and died on the spot on Thursday evening, police spokesman Ola Osterling told Swedish news agency TT.
Police are looking for at least two suspects who allegedly shot the rapper.
The motive for the shooting remains unclear, but the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported that the rapper had recently received several threats. He said without providing details that Einar was shot at close range, “execution style”.
According to Swedish public broadcaster SVT, the rapper’s murder was linked to a gang.
Einar, real name Nils Gronberg, was born in Stockholm and rose to fame at the age of 16 when his song “Katten i trakten”, from his debut album Forsta class topped the Swedish charts in 2019.
He won the Song of the Year award in 2019 and the Newcomer of the Year award a year later. Einar’s songs have been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times on Spotify.
“I understand that [Einar] meant a lot to many young people, ”Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told SVT. “Of course it’s tragic. It’s a young life that has died out.
Christian Democratic Party leader Ebba Busch posted on Twitter that if politicians do not take responsibility for tackling gang-related crimes, “we cannot stand up for human dignity or security in the country.”
Center Party leader Annie Loof said most people “are fed up with senseless violence and want to see gang crime tackled.”
Swedish tabloid Expressen said Einar’s songs often dealt with crime, including guns, drugs and violence, and that the rapper was said to have had close ties to local criminal gangs. He had been seen hanging out and partying with gang members
According to Expressen, Einar was due to testify in a gang trial next week, but Swedish prosecutors had said earlier that they did not expect him to appear in court.
The rapper himself had previously been convicted of minor drug offenses, assault and unlawful conduct, among others, SVT said.
Sweden has seen an increase in organized crime in recent years and several gang-related shootings have taken place in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.
In July, two young children were accidentally shot and wounded by unknown criminals in a suburb just outside Stockholm and in August three people were injured in a shooting in the southern town of Kristianstad linked to gangs .
A report from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention said earlier this year that Sweden is the only European country where fatal shootings have increased significantly since 2000, mainly due to the violent activity of organized gangs.