Finland: 12-Year-Old Opens Fire Inside School, Injuring Three, Arrested

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Helsinki: A distressing incident unfolded on Tuesday as a 12-year-old opened fire at a school located outside Helsinki, Finland’s capital, resulting in three other children sustaining injuries, according to the police. The suspect was taken into custody in an area of Helsinki in a calm manner.

Authorities were notified of the incident at 09:08 am local time, Police later confirmed that both the perpetrator and the injured individuals were 12 years old. Police advised the public to steer clear of the area and to remain indoors, cautioning against opening doors to strangers.

The school, situated in Vantaa, accommodates approximately 800 students and employs 90 staff members, catering to children from grades one to nine, ranging in age from seven to 15.

Expressing her shock, Finnish Interior Minister Mari Rantanen shared her thoughts in a post, acknowledging the distressing start to the day. She empathised with the families affected, acknowledging the pain and concern they must be enduring.

“The day started in a shocking way. There has been a shooting incident at Viertola school in Vantaa. I can only imagine the pain and worry many families are experiencing right now. The suspected perpetrator has been caught. The situation is led by@IUpoliisi,” she said.

The suspect has been arrested by the police. The suspect after shooting fled the spot and was later caught by the police in a northern Helsinki suburb as per a report from country’s public broadcaster, YLE. Police officers were called to Viertola school in the city of Vantaa at around 9am local time. Police have not yet provided any info regarding the nature or severity of injuries nor the type of firearm used in the attack.

Moreover children were kept inside the school after the shooting and authorities urged people to remain indoors and avoid school. The school has around 800 students between 1st and 9th grade and around 90 staff members. Finnish PM Petteri Orpo reacted to the shooting and said that it was deeply shocking. He posted on X saying his thoughts are with the victims, families and other students and staff of the Viertola school.

Finland has a strong tradition of hunting and its gun ownership rates are among the highest in the world, but school shootings are rare. In 2007, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, an 18-year old schoolboy opened fire in his high school in Southern Finnish town of Tuusula, killing eight people and wounding ten others before he turned the gun on himself. He left a suicide note saying goodbye to his family.

In another incident in 2008, just months after the Tuusula shooting, Matti Juhani Saari opened fire at another school in the country, killing ten people before shooting himself as per a CNN report. Following these shootings the Finnish government has issued new guidelines to use firearms, particularly handguns and revolvers.

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