20-year-old man with Down Syndrome shot dead by police after being spotted with a 'gun'

Eric Torell, who suffered from down syndrome as well as autism, and was unable to communicate verbally, was reported to be missing from home after he ran away from his house

                            20-year-old man with Down Syndrome shot dead by police after being spotted with a 'gun'
(Source:Getty Images)

According to recent reports, a 20-year-old man suffering from Down Syndrome was shot by the police in Sweden after he was spotted carrying a toy gun. Eric Torell, who suffered from Down Syndrome, as well as, autism, was unable to communicate verbally. He was reported to be missing from home after he ran away from his house.

As per Eric's mother, it was not a new thing for Eric to run away from home, for he had done so in the past as well. This time around though, before he ran away, Eric was carrying a plastic toy gun with him which "looked a little like a submachine gun" and had been gifted to him, reports Expressen.

As per reports, police were alerted to check up on the Vasastan district of Stockholm at around 4 am on Thursday, August 2,  after they received concerns in the area about a man with a gun. As per the policemen, they asked Eric to drop what they believed to be a weapon, and said that they were forced when he failed to comply and was acting "threateningly."

An eyewitness at the scene told the press, "I heard gunshots and woke up. When I looked out I saw policemen. They shouted that someone should lay down his weapon and lie on the ground. Then more police arrived and also an ambulance." The police officers then fired at the 20-year-old, who although was rushed to the hospital, could not survive and died there.

Eric's mother Katarina Söderberg, on hearing the tragic news about her son's death said, "It’s impossible to understand. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’s the kindest person in the world." She then added, "Even if he made a mistake, even if he went outside with a pistol thing, a toy gun, do they have to shoot him dead because of that? It was light outside, you can see a mile away that he’s got Down syndrome. It can’t be missed. A ‘threatening man’? He’s like a 3-year-old."

The sad mother added that due to his disability, Eric was not capable of communicating verbally, and could only really used the word ‘mum.' Eric’s father, Rickard, said, "I woke up because Eric was gone. I went out and looked for him. I saw police cars on the street. Three police officers shot him in his stomach."

Reports of the incident say that the prosector’s office has opened an investigation of possible police misconduct for Eric's untimely death at the hands of the policemen, which is currently being led by chief prosecutor Martin Tidén. Although Martin refused to comment much on the case, he did say, "The important thing about this investigation is that it is conducted objectively," adding that it would take several weeks for the investigation to reach a conclusion.

Sweden’s Interior and Justice minister, Morgan Johansson has since responded to the incident. He wrote, "It’s a deeply tragic event. An investigation is now underway to clarify what happened, and we must now wait for it."

On the other hand, the regional policeman in Stockholm, Ulf Johansson, said in a press release, "It is very tragic for everyone involved, and I have a great understanding and respect for what has occurred, which causes very upset feelings. With all due respect for the family to the deceased, my thoughts obviously also go to the policymakers who have been involved in this event."

Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.