One student (12) died and two seriously injured after school shooting in Finland, suspect (12) arrested

One student (12) died and two seriously injured after school shooting in Finland, suspect (12) arrested
One student (12) died and two seriously injured after school shooting in Finland, suspect (12) arrested
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At 9:08 a.m. local time (8:08 a.m. Belgian time), the local police received a report that a shooting was in progress at the Viertola primary school in the suburb of Vantaa. The first officers arrived at the scene at 9.17am and the other emergency services arrived five minutes later.

In the school, where around 800 students between the ages of 7 and 15 attend, emergency services found three injured people, all 12-year-olds. One of them died on the spot from his or her injuries. The two others were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The suspect, also a 12-year-old, fled on foot after the shooting and was arrested about an hour later – with a firearm in his pocket – in Siltamäki, a neighborhood in northern Helsinki.

“The arrest was peaceful. The suspect was in possession of a firearm. The suspect admitted to the act during preliminary interrogation,” the police clarified during a press conference. According to the police, the weapon that the suspect had in his pocket belonged to a close relative and was obtained with a permit. At first there appears to be no connection with organized crime or street gangs. It is currently unclear what the suspect’s motive is. All three victims and the shooter are Finns and are said to have been in class together. The police were not aware of any indications that the suspect had planned the attack in advance. There are also no indications that there is more than one suspect and the immediate danger would therefore have passed.

Because the suspect is younger than 15 years old, he cannot be imprisoned in Finland. The shooter will be further questioned and handed over to social services. The incident is currently being investigated as murder and attempted murder.

© EPA-EFE

Sirens

For a while, the Finnish police asked local residents to avoid the area surrounding the school. Eyewitness Fanni Heteaho, who lives near the school, told the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper that she was startled by the sound of police cars in the morning. “I was in my garden. Being a curious person, I waited to see where the police cars were going. Then I also saw those dark police cars. I paid close attention, because they are normally not visible when it is something small.” According to Heteaho, the ambulances initially waited at a distance. “They were probably waiting for confirmation to continue driving,” she said. There she saw a whole series of ambulances driving up to the school.

An eyewitness told the Iltalehte newspaper that he was working nearby on Tuesday morning and heard a shot just after 9 a.m. “I couldn’t immediately link the sound to a gun. Then there was a terrible scream and some children ran across the grounds,” he said.

It was only when heavily armed police officers entered the schoolyard that the horrific truth became clear to the man. “It took a minute or two before several police cars, an ambulance and a special unit entered the schoolyard.”

© AFP

Fourth shooting at Finnish school

“The shooting in Vantaa is deeply shocking,” Prime Minister Petteri Orpo wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “My thoughts go out to the victims, their loved ones and the other students and staff of the Viertola school. We are closely monitoring the situation and awaiting updated information from the authorities.”

The Minister of the Interior, Mari Rantanen, wrote on X: “The day started in a shocking way. There was a shooting incident at the Viertola school in Vantaa. I can only imagine the pain and worry many families are experiencing right now.”

At a press conference, Education Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson added: “One 12-year-old child will never come home from school and two children are seriously injured.”

Shootings are relatively rare in Finland. In the country with 5.6 million inhabitants, there are 1.5 million firearms licenses and approximately 430,000 license holders. Before Tuesday’s shooting, there had only been three significant shootings at Finnish schools. This was in Raumanmeri in 1989, in Jokela in 2007 and in Kauhajoki in 2008. Two, nine and eleven people were killed respectively.

In 2010, new measures were taken regarding firearms. For example, the minimum age was raised and a stricter licensing procedure was introduced.

© EPA-EFE

© AP

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