Finland mourns 12-year-old boy after school shooting

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AFP
People lay flowers and light candles for the shooting victims

NOS Newstoday, 1:49 PMAmended today, 2:12 PM

Dozens of candles stand in the snow in front of the Finnish school where a shooting took place yesterday. The country is mourning a 12-year-old boy who died at school after being shot by a fellow classmate.

Two peers were seriously injured and taken to hospital. It is still unknown how the two are doing.

On The ministry calls on the entire country to participate.

AFP
The flag flies at half-mast above the government building

The shooting took place at the Viertola School in the Finnish city of Vantaa, north of the capital Helsinki. The children are going back to school there today. They are offered special guidance.

The 12-year-old shooter was found 4 kilometers from the school. He was in possession of a revolver. During interrogation he confessed that he was responsible for the shooting. Finnish police said in a statement that the boy said he shot at his classmates because he was allegedly being bullied.

Under Finnish law, the shooter will not face criminal charges because he is younger than 15 years old. He is placed under the supervision of social services. The permit for the gun the boy used in the shooting belonged to a family member.

Weapons law previously tightened

Prime Minister Orpo said he was shocked by the shooting, also because of the young age of the shooter. He stressed the “urgent need to tackle mental health issues among young people”.

Finnish Children’s Ombudsman Elina Pekkarinen told the Finnish news agency STT that police figures show violence between children under the age of 15 is increasing. “But there hasn’t been enough political will to address the situation.”

The incident reignites a national discussion about youth mental health and access to firearms. Fourteen years ago, Finland tightened its gun laws after two fatal school shootings in 2007 and 2008.

For example, the minimum age for applying for a firearms permit was increased from 18 years to 20 years and people who want a permit must undergo a suitability test.

Eight percent of the Finnish population has a firearms permit. Hunting and other shooting sports are popular in the country.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Finland mourns #12yearold boy school shooting

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