A 20-year-old man with Down's Syndrome has been shot dead by police after he ran away from home carrying a toy gun.

Eric Torrell, from Stockholm, was acting "threateningly" and had to be fired upon, officers said.

He had left his home with the plastic toy - which looked like a sub-machine gun, according to mother - before his family reported him missing, reports Daily Mail.

But at 4am, a witness heard gunshots, telling Expressen: "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."

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By 5.45am on Thursday, he was declared dead after being shot by three officers.

His 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."

Police said they had responded to a 'threatening situation' in which a man was showing a gun to people in the area. Photo / Supplied
Police said they had responded to a 'threatening situation' in which a man was showing a gun to people in the area. Photo / Supplied

Police said they had responded to a "threatening situation" in which a man was showing a gun to people in the area.

His mother, Katarina Söderberg, said: "We are furious because of their lying and making up things. 'A threatening man?' He's like a three-year-old."

She added: "It's impossible to understand. He wouldn't hurt a fly. He's the kindest person in the world."

Eric was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome and autism and could not speak, Katarina added.

She said he was given the gun as a gift but had not used it until now.

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An investigation has been launched into potential police misconduct.